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Cephalalgia. 2015 Oct;35(12):1085-91. doi: 10.1177/0333102415570300. Epub 2015 Feb 4.

Ambient air pollution, weather and daily emergency department visits for headache.

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Public Health Department, Faculty for Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel Clinical Research Center, Soroka University Medical Center, Israel
Clinical Research Center, Soroka University Medical Center, Israel.
Neurology Department, Soroka University Medical Center, Israel.



Headache is a common condition, and a common complaint leading patients to emergency departments (ED). There have been a number of studies of the effect of environmental factors on headache, such as weather and air pollutants.


This retrospective cohort study included data on daily ED visits with a chief complaint of headache in Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) during 2002-2012. Data on weather and air pollutants were obtained from monitor station in Be'er-Sheva. To estimate the short-term effects of air pollution and temperature on number of daily headache ED visits, we applied generalized linear mixed models (GLMM).


A total of 22,021 ED visits were included in the analysis. An increase in 5℃ in temperature was associated with an increase in ED visits, relative risk (RR) = 1.042, (95% CI 1.009; 1.076). RR for headache was associated with an increase in 10 units of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), RR = 1.110 (95% CI 1.057; 1.167), with a higher effect for older patients.


The current findings give evidence of an association between air pollution, weather and ED visits for headache, especially for NO2. Short-term increases in air pollution exposure may trigger headache by increasing pulmonary and systemic inflammation, increasing blood coagulability or altering endothelial function.


Dust exposure; air pollution; emergency department visit; headache

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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