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2296 PWToday Stories

You get right up my nose!

11 Jul 05

Nasal surgery might help alleviate severe migraine headaches for some patients, research suggests.
It seems some migraines are triggered - or exacerbated - by opposite surfaces within the sinuses or nasal cavities pressing against each other.

The brain is confused into interpreting the stimulation as a headache.

New Jersey researchers found endoscopic nasal surgery on 21 migraine sufferers halved the number of days they had headaches and they were less severe.

The study, by Christ Hospital in Jersey City, New Jersey, is published in the journal Cephalagia.

Lead researcher Dr Fereidoon Behin said: "We are very excited. We believe a good percentage of patients whose migraines ares linked to intranasal contact points problems can be cured by this operation."

Dr Andrew Dowson, medical advisor of Migraine Action Association, told the BBC News website nasal pain was often misinterpreted as migraine, and that it was possible that the two conditions were linked.

His own research has shown that patients with a condition called patent foramen ovale - known colloquially as a hole in the heart - are at greater risk of migraine. "Migraine is probably a neurological condition," he said.

"Conditions such as intranasal contact points and a hole in the heart probably generate added 'neurological noise'.

"This may be enough to tip the balance in an already disturbed nervous system and trigger a migraine attack."

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