Use of Barometric Pressure Data in Management of Migraine

Migraine headache can get you out of your routine
Migraine headache can get you out of your routine

Use of Barometric Pressure Data in the Management of Migraine

This March 2015 migraine blog below is now my primary blog on this topic. I also give away FREE access codes to the Elecont eWeather HD app:

Weather App Helps Manage Barometric Pressure Related Migraine Headache

Barometric Pressure graph reveals steep drop and rise which can trigger micraine headache
Barometric Pressure graph reveals steep drop and rise which can trigger micraine headache

Migraine and weather related headaches affect some 15% or more of the population. In more recent years, much has been written about the connection between weather patterns and headache, where falling barometric pressure and rising humidity can often trigger migraine headaches, which are “low pressure” headaches characterized by dilated blood vessels in the brain. The most popular over the counter migraine medicine, Excedrin, then combines aspirin or Tylenol with caffeine (as a vasoconstrictor) to combat this medical sequel of dilated blood vessels. But, it is helpful to know during initial onset of a headache, if it in fact is barometric pressure induced so that you choose the right medicine and treatment.

I personally live with the medical condition hydrocephalus, and as a neuroscientist, I provide patient consults, neurological monitoring, advise on the role of technology, and provide drum circle workshops for health & wellness. Still, for me and so many other Americans, migraine headache and weather related triggers, pose regular challenges. So I turn to technology for a solution.

Over the last several years, I have come to use two separate weather sources for obtaining the much needed correlating weather data. They are:

1) http://www.wunderground.com/

2) http://www.elecont.com/ 

Elecont is a high tech mobile phone weather app  It’s $4.99 on Android and $3.99 on Apple stores. I have FREE access codes to download the Android version.

Barometric Pressure Data.March 22.2014.jpg

The barometric pressure data that these sites and apps offer is then extraordinarily useful in monitoring and pain management of migraine headaches, especially in hydrocephalus. I’ve inserted 3 weather data photos here, if they load correctly. They include a jpeg image of barometric pressure up thru 6pm on March 23, 2014, showing a rapid rise in pressure between 8am and 11am, which can trigger a high pressure headache, which would be more unique I think for persons with hydrocephalus. At 11am, I felt it likely was the trigger of that headache on that morning. Also, a 2nd bit of data that was helpful was the rising humidity at 11am, known to also act as a trigger for headache.

I didn’t save the inserted until about 6pm that day, which shows the pressure leveling off by 12 noon. This leveling also corresponded to a leveling off of my headache, though it took 2-3 hours, or around 3pm. I had been noticing over the last several months that I was suffering from headaches often as the barometric pressure was rising. So when I saw the big spike by 11am, I knew I was in for a rough headache day, and adjusted my medication & activity schedule accordingly. I was happy that the pressure leveled off and stayed level for the afternoon, as it allowed my headache to dissipate by 3pm.

More often, migraine will be triggered by “falling” barometric pressure. There is specific diagnostic significance for those who might experience headache during a rising barometric pressure. I can’t advise you here without any supporting medical history. So I recommend you speak to your neurologist or neurosurgeon as to the significance of your pressure correlation.

In hydrocephalus, a headache from rising pressure would indicate either an increased sensitivity to pressure changes from hydrocephalus that is not well arrested after shunting or ETV, and/or during periods of increased intracranial pressure, or ICP. It is conceivable that a headache response from a high pressure weather front might also indicate “shunt malfunction” in hydrocephalus, should you not normally get a headache from rising pressure. what was also significant in my case on this day, is that as soon as the pressure leveled off, so did my headache, though by about two hours. The dissipation with leveling pressure also served to confirm the weather correlation. As I’ve been using this weather data for 3-4 years now, the correlation then served as biofeedback in management experience.

I am working on developing a mobile app for hydrocephalus monitoring, called the DiaCeph Test, which will incorporate weather data in the interface and during monitoring, to correlate and help in management of headache from barometric pressure weather changes. I first applied for patent for my DiaCeph Test way back in 1997, and was considered a visionary for this, and apps did not yet exist. It was going to run as a stand-alone PDA. So, I was one of the earliest pioneers of mobile apps, before they were even possible. Also around that time, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and Henry Ford Center in Detroit, introduced a software method of monitoring sports concussion, called the Impact Test.

Please contact me if you are interested in helping to develop these neurological apps.

May you ride out your headaches like a surfer thru a wave!

Stephen Dolle
http://www.dollecommunications.com

Justice Department rejects Disability Complaint on Sound Accessibility at YMCA of Orange County, Similar Venues

Complaint to the U. S. Justice Dept for sound sensitivity accomodation for loud music and screaming at YMCA of Orange County
Complaint to the U. S. Justice Dept for sound sensitivity accomodation for loud music and screaming at YMCA of Orange County

This blog discusses my disability rights complaint to the U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division, and request for a sound sensory accommodation from loud music and screaming broadcast all over my YMCA of Orange County fitness center where I was a member. I had been a member from 2007 to 2011. But it was in the later part of 2010 that a new fitness director was hired, who began putting on zumba classes with loud music and screaming, which was then broadcast all over the gym. Being exposed to this in the adjacent rooms then made me ill.

I undertook numerous remedies to bring a resolution to this. I was eventually asked WHY I couldn’t tolerate it, that loudness levels were within limits set my their national organiozation, and was told to where ear plugs when in the facility – which I tried for a while. But I kept having to take them out when a nearby member spoke to me. Other members (esp seniors) I was told discontinued their membership due to the unhealthful noise. Earlier in 2007, I had abandoned my 25 year membership at 24 Hour Fitness after they began playing loud overhead music. This YMCA gym could have, and should have, made the necessary accommodation I requested. In their ruling, DOJ rejected my complaint in its entirety and instructed me to seek other (esp. civil) remedies. In my opinion, both were legally and morally in the wrong! But there’s very little advocacy for SPD and sound sensory disabilities.

YMCA’s practices effectively barred me and other members with sensory processing disorder from using their fitness facility. The loud music and screaming gave me headaches, nausea, made me dizzy, and irritable – not unlike motion sickness. This is a known medical response for affected individuals to this type of sound sensory stimuli. And it gets better. After I filed my complaint to DOJ, the fitness director created a fake incident alleging I was disturbing other members, where I was told my membership was no longer good. I left and never returned!

Prior to filing my complaint with DOJ, I verbally and requested in writing to management for a change in their music broadcast policiesYMCA declinded to make any accommodation or modification. This was also after I had done volunteer work (music therapy) for this YMCA, and after others (affected seniors) had donated money.

It took DOJ two years to respond with a “no.” My complaint was filed with the “Disability Rights” division, who has jurisdiction over public and private facilities for disability rights accommodations. My complaint asked DOJ to draft new language of protections applicable to public and private venues across the U.S. where loud music or machinery poses unhealthful consequences to persons with neurological and sensory processing disorders.

Mostly what this YMCA needed do as an accommodation – was keep the door of the Zumba classroom closed. But management decided it more important to leave the door open, despite the room already having numerous open windows to the outside that brought in fresh air, and instead chose to broadcast the loud music and screaming through the rest of the facility.

Below is my complaint to DOJ and request for accommodation to the YMCA of Orange County, both of which were denied. These parties theated sound sensitivity and sensory processing disorder as though it were a “comfort” issue, rather than health issue.

Brain centers involved in SPD or sensory processing disorder, courtesy of UCSF
Brain centers involved in SPD or sensory processing disorder, courtesy of UCSF

A large segment of the U.S. population suffers from sensory processing disorder as a result of either autism, post TBI, PTSD, ADHD, hydrocephalus, post tumor, post stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, migraine disorder, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and more. Affected individuals become very sensitive to loud/erratic sound, from music, machinery, loud raucious TV commercials, and other types of sound which carries elements which are problematic to affected individuals. The affected Americans account for 15-20 percent of the population. These unhealthful sound levels for many, are often protected by years old standards of the decibel scale & chart below. But, these acceptable limits are coming under fire as I share further below.

Standard decibel chart approved many years ago before much was known about the brain or sensory processing.
Standard decibel chart approved many years ago before much was known about the brain or sensory processing.

The above chart has been coming under fire. OSHA, the primary authority over unhealthful sound in the workplace, still agrees with the more liberable interpretation above.

The decibel chart offers some additional insight to how the readings are made. Today mobile apps also provide decibel readings.
The decibel chart offers some additional insight to how the readings are made. Today mobile apps also provide decibel readings.

This next chart illustrates the decibel levels of common machinery.

This decibel chart provides decibel readings from many common machinery.
This decibel chart provides decibel readings from many common machinery.

Now we’re getting a little more current science with this next chart, which factors in reporting by persons exposed to what were thought of as otherwise safe decibel levels. And none of this yet takes into consideration the loss of sensory processing function by persons with neurological injury and disorders, and related SPD. When affected individuals are unable to tolerate these sound/noise levels, that raises ACCESSIBILITY to public and private facilities. Such facilities would include health clubs, restaurants, night clubs, churches, schools, malls, art & music venues and events, fairs, parks, and the like.

Study of group response to decibel levels otherwise considered safe by the decibel scale.
Study of group response to decibel levels otherwise considered safe by the decibel scale.

The image below illustrates the critical brain areas in volved in sensory processing.

Drumming and the Brain.diagram

In 2016, technology has made decibel meters available as mobile phone apps. I use the Smart Tools decibel app. However, what is needed is an app and new sound standard to measure the EQ mix of sound and its likely effect on sound processing. Such data would then lower the effective healthful range of sound.

Choose the right decibel app.
Chosing the right mHealth App can be confusing.

In individuals such as myself, I will have good days and bad days, where my sound intolerance can vary and leave me in a pickle if I ignore the early warning signs. As an affected individual, you need to be aware at any given time of the status of your sensory intolerance, so you can make your optional adjustments as needed. However, there still needs to be new efforts in mitigating the hap-hazard broadcast of sound and noise as so many people are effected, with many more becoming affected who aren’t aware.

As for regulatory actions against noise, the only one that comes to mind is Congress 2012 ruling on the CALM Act – intended to prevent volume raising of TV commercials. But nothing has changed. Obnoxiously loud and ridiculous TV commercials continue on almost all channels. And on radio too. While the science in support of sensory processing disorder and affected neurological disorders exists, the U.S. government and DOJ have acted to deny the science, accommodations, and disability rights protections, while advocating for bizarre new and usual protections for special interests groups. I challenge those who deny this, to play such sounds at an official’s or company office. You will likely be thrown out! So WHY is this exposure OK for the general public? I discuss this in more detail in my 2015 blog on Tips and Information on sound related Sensory Processing Disorder below.

New sound standards and measurements must occur for there to be progress. There first needs to be a revision to current safe decibel scale, to revise it to reflect the health needs of persons with SPD disorders. Next, I am advocating a NEW decibel scale to include a “sound processing component” to account for how the human brain processes sound. Examples of difficult sounds are machinery with fast unbroken patterns, TV & radio commercials where a person is talking fast or screaming with music playing at full volume, and music with people screaming and yelling.

Cognitive Accessibility in SPDs.Hulk Destroys Tree Shredder
Cognitive Accessibility in SPDs.Hulk Destroys Tree Shredder

Since this blog was authored in 2013, I have added a new web page of information for sensory processing disorders and cognitive disabilities at CognitiveAccessibility.org, as well as several new blogs which I discuss below.

Cognitive Accessibility.org

In 2015, I authored this important blog on tips and new information on sound related sensory processing disorder, or SPD, which includes updated supporting blogs and web content on this important subject. I am hoping to find the time and energy to build a complete web site for CognitiveAccessibility.org to advocate and share science on sensory processing disorder and cognitive disabilities. In this blog below, I also share some of my efforts with drumming and drum circles that can raise one’s level of intolerance, and improve over well being.

Tips & Information on Sound related Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Drumming Therapy helps Children with Autism, ADHD, and ADD with Focus and Initiation of Action.
Drumming Therapy helps Children with Autism, ADHD, and ADD with Focus and Initiation of Action.

We have supporting science. Now we simply need to connect it to protections and managing in everyday living thru accommodations, technology, and awareness.

Earlier in 2002, I undertook an important study on sensory processing disorder, which is also discussed in the above updated blog:

 2002 Study in Support of Sound related Sensory Processing Disorder 

If you would like me to speak on my efforts with sensory processing disorder, workplace drumming or therapeutic drumming, please contact me via the information below. 

Stephen Dolle
Neuroscientist & Drum Circle Facilitator
Dolle Communications
Email: contact[at]dollecommunications[dot]com

Update on Higher Incidence of Brain Diseases & CTE among Former NFL Players

A most recent study of former NFL football players reports that they are on average 3 times more likely to die from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Lou Gehrig’s disease than the general population. But, it shouldn’t surprise you based on what we know about health and longevity: take care of yourself when you are young, and you’ll likely appreciate better health in your later years.

That means, brush your teeth 1-2 times per day, eat your fruits and vegetables, don’t smoke, watch what you eat, get some exercise, don’t drink too much, limit your high risk behavior, and don’t bust yourself up.

I would have to argue that repeated blows to the head, as is common in football, goes against everything our parents and doctors told us from our youth. Though most of the attention of brain problems in football players until now focused on the condition CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is traced to repeated head blows. This new study looked at the three leading cause of disabilty and death among seniors.

As a youth, I suffered at least one known concussion when I was knocked unconscious during a football game. Over the years, I probably had one or more other concussions due to all the sports I participated in, including, boxing. But, it was a 1992 auto accident at the age of 37 that turned an initially viewed mild head injury and concussion, one month later into post traumatic hydrocephalus and 10 brain shunt surgeries since.

Since my 1992 injury from an auto accident, and with a health care and scientific background, I poured a great deal of my efforts into music therapy, balance & cognitive therapies, neurological testing & patenting of an AI type monitoring system, assistive cognitive technologies, hydrocephalus advocacy, FDA regulatory affairs, and now over the last seven years, drumming for your brain and health.

I believe I can say with absolute certainty that these mindful preparations and preventions will make a significant difference in your health and longevity. I feel bad for the athletes who have sustained multiple concussions and now are having long term neurological complaints. It is never too late to take on stricter controls over activities that affect your brain and health.

Exercise and challenge your brain today thru reading, art, music, and social activities! I have found termendous brain & health benefits from drumming, or drum circles, and today am a drum circle facilitator and speaker on drumming and the brain. I have undertaken research with drumming and sensory processing disorders, common in CTE, parkinson’s, post TBI, PTSD, autism, hydrocephalus, migraine, and many other neurological disorders. Check out my web site and Facebook page at http://www.dollecommunications.com

Remember also to eat right. Drink lots of water. Get proper rest.  And watch what you put in your body, including, alcohol and/or drugs. If something seems like it might be bad for you, it probably is!

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8341317/study-finds-former-nfl-players-unusually-prone-dying-degenerative-brain-disease