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Imagined smells can precede migraines

Discussion in 'Neurology' started by Egyptian Doctor, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor  Moderator Verified Doctor

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    Hallucinated scents such as a burning or rotten smell, or even the scent of foie
    gras, can be a part of the "aura" that some people perceive before a migraine
    attack, although it is rare, according to a U.S. study.
    About 30 percent of people with recurrent migraines have sensory disturbances
    shortly before their headache hits, known as aura, but these are usually visual,
    such as flashes of light or blind spots. Tingling sensations or numbness, or
    difficulty speaking or understanding language, may also appear.

    But the study, conducted by Matthew Robbins and colleagues at the Montefiore
    Headache Center in New York, found that a small number of people described
    smelling scents in conjunction with their headaches.

    "It's uncommon, but distinctive," said Robbins, noting that disturbances in
    the sense of smell, known as olfactory hallucinations, have not been covered in
    a systematic review of medical literature before.

    Researchers reviewed 25 reported cases of patients with headaches, migraines
    in most cases, and olfactory hallucinations. They also examined records from
    more than 2,100 patients seen over 30 months. Fourteen people, or just under 0.7
    percent, had described smelling scents ahead of their headaches.

    "The most common was of the burning or smoke variety," Robbins said.

    Some sufferers described a general burning smell. others said they smelled
    cigar smoke, wood smoke or burned popcorn.

    "Decomposition" odors, such as garbage or sewage, were the next most common
    smell reported. A few people described pleasant odours, including the scent of
    oranges, coffee or, in one case, foie gras.

    About 11 percent of the world's population suffers from migraines, so even
    though olfactory hallucinations are an unusual part of aura, there could still
    be a fairly large number of people who experience them, Robbins said.

    It's not clear why the hallucinated odors are most often unpleasant, or why
    they are only rarely part of migraine aura.

    But aura symptoms are thought to involve a phenomenon called "cortical
    spreading depression," where a wave of increased electrical activity in nerve
    cells of the brain is followed by a wave of depressed activity, Robbins
    said.

    That same phenomenon might underlie olfactory hallucinations -- and because
    the brain's smell centres occupy much less space than its sight centres, that
    could, in theory, explain why phantom scents are so much less common, he
    added.

    It is also possible that some people with migraines and olfactory
    hallucinations do not recognize the phenomenon, he added. People know something
    is wrong when they see zigzag lines, but it is easy to assume a small is
    actually coming from somewhere.

    Since some disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, can cause a person to
    smell scents that are not present, any such hallucinations without an
    accompanying headache should be checked out, he warned.

    Source : Imagined smells can precede migraines - study | Reuters
     

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  2. Acuosuo

    Acuosuo Well-Known Member

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    nothing else

    Your comment is very good:)
     


  3. Irina V.

    Irina V. Young Member

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    there are some new methods in terms of the most effective drug treatment of migraine?
     


  4. sakshi supehia

    sakshi supehia Famous Member

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    Really a Riveting information!!..
     


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