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Study: Obesity Tied To Frequent Migraines

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File photo of an obese person. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

File photo of an obese person. (credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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BALTIMORE (CBSDC) – A connection exists between episodic migraines and obesity, according to the findings of a new study.

Researcher at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who were led by Dr. Lee Peterlin found that overweight adults were twice as likely to suffer from episodic migraines as adults of normal weights.

“This suggests patients and doctors need to be aware that obesity is associated with an increased risk of episodic migraine and not wait until a patient has chronic migraine to address healthy lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, and to choose medications that impact weight with care,” Peterlin was quoted as saying in an e-mail to Reuters Health.

Researchers noted that between 10 and 15 percent of all adults suffer from episodic migraines, which are defined as migraines that occur less than once every other day. Previous studies have connected obesity to more chronic migraines, or migraines that happen at least once every other day.

For the study, a reported 3,862 people were studied, all of whom had taken part in a national survey earlier on in the century. Of those people, 188 said they experienced migraines between three and four times every month.

The team found that 32 percent of those who suffered from episodic migraines were obese. Researchers determined this using the patients’ volunteered heights and weights, Reuters Health learned.

Not all in Peterlin’s field were willing to embrace the team’s findings – Reuters Health also spoke with Dr. Tobias Kurth of the French national research institute INSERM and the University of Bordeaux, who said that more research would be needed before a direct line can be drawn between the two ailments.

“If obesity would cause migraine, which is the suggestion of this study, we would expect to see an increase … in the prevalence of migraine, because we have such an epidemic of obesity in the United States,” he was quoted as saying. “And this is just not true.”

Peterlin countered that some studies have, in fact, suggested such an increase.

The study was said to have been published online earlier this month on the website for the journal Neurology.

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