Category Archives: General Information

Brain activity increases with cell phone use

A study recently published revealed that cell phone signals increased brain activity.  It was actually a very interesting study, in which participants held a cell phone to each ear, unaware if turned on or off.  After 50 minutes, brain activity was increased in the area of the brain in closest proximity to the antenna. 

So, do cell phones cause cancer?  It’s way to early to say that, in fact, and it’s not clear how increasing the brain’s activity would effect one’s health.  It may be, for instance, that increases in brain activity would be helpful in certain conditions in the right area of the brain.  It could also be that the increase in activity for sustained periods over many years, could have a detrimental effect.  It’s just too early to say.  We also don’t know how these signals may affect the brains of developing children and teens, who can expect to be exposed for prolonged periods over decades.

Many studies have looked for correlations between cell phone use and brain cancer, and long story short, the evidence in it’s entirety does not support that claim.  Of course, all studies have their problems, but despite looking, the connection has not been found in any convincing way.

This study is very interesting, that radio signals affect brain function, but what it means no one really knows.  There is also a small amount of evidence that using cell phones, especially within a couple of hours of bedtime, impairs sleep, and may cause headaches.  Hmmmm.

 So… what to do with your cell phone?  If you’re an average adult user, and don’t spend prolonged periods of time on the phone, there’s probably nothing to worry about.  If you use your phone more often, or for prolonged periods, you can wear a wired earpiece that transmits the sound with out adding any electromagnetic waves and keep the antenna further from your brain.  As for you kids?  Well, they don’t really need cell phones, do they?

Morning Headaches Are A Signal To Talk To Your Doctor

Morning headaches, if occurring consistently, are a reason to talk to your doctor.  On a recent appearance on the Dr. Oz show, a panel of experts helped design a quiz to test your level of health.  As a headache specialist, I felt that morning headaches were important to discuss.  Morning headaches can be due to a number of ailments, many of which should be treated, aside from treating the actual headache. 

Sleep apnea, medication overuse headaches (also called rebound headaches), and even brain tumors, can cause headaches when you awake in the morning.  All 3 of these conditions need to be evaluated and treated or they can worsen.  There are other conditons as well, that may lead to morning headaches, and as some migraine sufferers already know, often morning migraines can be among the most difficult to treat.  You can see my discussion of the topic at  http://www.youtube.com/user/AudreyHalpernMD

 

Vertigo and dizziness are common problems in migraine sufferers.  In general, as a neurologist, I see a lot of patients with dizziness.  The problem tends to be more prominent in migraineurs.  There are several different potential causes of vertigo, and even more in migraineurs.

Vertigo can be present as a part of migraine, is very common after concussion, and can be caused by a host of middle and inner ear disorders, as well as brain disorders.  In some cases, dizziness can be related to dehydration, blood pressure drops, or heart problems.
 
Vertigo can be an associated symptom of migraine (like nausea and sensitivity to light), it can be an aura-type symptom (preceding the migraine in a very distinct episode), it can be the only manifestation of migraine (migrainous vertigo, a variant of migraine) or it can be a symptom in the general life, intermittently and not associated with actual migraine attacks, of a migraineur, but related to the migraine by the genetic underlying sensitivities.
 
Of course, migraineurs can also get vertigo from the more typical and non-migraine related causes, such as inner ear infections, labyrinthitis, benign positional vertigo, menierie’s disease, other ear problems, and even strokes.
 
It is an interesting and common problem.  It, unfortunately, is very difficult to treat.  Keep yourself well hydrated and ask your doctor if any of your medications can be adding to the problem.  Often times it will go away on it’s own, if it is from a benign cause.  In severe chronic cases of vertigo, a special type of rehabilitation can be useful.

An Introduction

This is my first blog, I’m a newbie, so please be patient.  You may eventually figure out that I am passionate about what I do.  And one of the things I am most passionate about is educating people about their neurological conditions, and how to take care of themselves to prevent these conditions, or to help have better outcomes with a particular condition. 

I am subspecialty trained in headache medicine (and board certified in the specialty as well), so this is my greatest passion perhaps.  But in my experience that has formed my clinical approach, I have found that so many aspects of life affect not only headaches and migraines, but other neurological conditions, and vice versa. 

The brain is a very complex, elegant and powerful organ that fascinates me to no end.  In this blog, I will write about this wonderful organ, and hope to provide insight into current news, underlying disease states (or natural states), and give advice about both neurological conditions and other life issues that may affect neurological conditions. 

I hope you, the reader, can find some helpful points as I write and discuss these topics.