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Tennessee Cities Top List of Migraine "Hot Spots"

Knoxville, Nashville and the Tri-Cities all made the top 10 list of U.S. migraine "hot spots" in a recent study. Credit: stockarch/morguefile.com
Knoxville, Nashville and the Tri-Cities all made the top 10 list of U.S. migraine "hot spots" in a recent study. Credit: stockarch/morguefile.com
September 2, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Here's a study that could give you a real headache: Three Tennessee cities top a list of migraine "hot spots," according to a report by Sperling's Best Places.

For this survey, the demographic research firm analyzed the number of migraine-related drug prescriptions, people's hours worked, commute time, environmental factors and diets.

Dr. Jan Brandes, a neurology professor at Vanderbilt University, said Tennessee's weather is another factor.

"One of the issues that may play a role has to do with barometric pressure shift," she said. "So, we have four seasons here, and any time there's a fluctuation in barometric pressure, that - for many migraineurs - can trigger an attack."

Knoxville, Nashville, and the Tri-Cities made the top 10 on a list that includes 110 cities.

Brandes said people can reduce their incidence of migraines by reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, and also to be aware of certain foods that, for some people, can be "triggers" for headaches.

The study estimated that 18 percent of women and 6-percent of men suffer from migraines, which are most frequent in people ages 25 to 55. For those who are diagnosed with migraines, Brandes said, it's important not to overuse medications that may relieve their symptoms.

"We know that Tennessee's very high on prescription medication use," she said. "We know that if you take a short-acting medication more than two or three days a week, that can promote daily headache."

She added that migraines often are misdiagnosed as sinus headaches, so experts recommend getting a specific diagnosis to ensure the proper medication is being used.

The report is online at bestplaces.net.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN