Energy-saving Light Bulbs More Likely To Give Headaches

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Aug 042017
 

Low energy LED light bulbs could be giving us all HEADACHES because they flicker too much.

Energy-saving Light Bulbs More Likely To Give Headaches

Energy-saving light bulbs could be giving us all headaches as they flicker too much.

LED bulbs can bring on feelings of dizziness and pain within just 20 minutes of switching them on, an expert has warned.

Professor Arnold Wilkins, professor of psychology at the University of Essex, said the flickering of the unpopular lights is stronger than for traditional light bulbs.

While fluorescent lights, such as those in offices, dim by around 35 per cent with every flicker, LED lights dim by 100 per cent. It means they effectively turn off and on again hundreds of times every second.

This can cause headaches by disrupting movement control of the eyes, forcing the brain to work harder. Flickering LED bulbs could double the chances of suffering a headache, based on previous research.

The warning comes as Britain is set to ban halogen light bulbs completely next September under EU law. They are currently being phased out, with major retailer IKEA already only offering LED bulbs for sale.

‘People do not like the flicker’

Professor Wilkins said the flicker from the energy-efficient bulbs is putting some people off buying them, adding: ‘People do not like the flicker, it can make them fell dizzy and unwell after about 20 minutes, and can produce disturbing anomalies of perception, such as seeing multiple images of the lamp, every time you move your eyes rapidly.’

Most electric lighting is powered by an alternating current supply, which causes light bulbs to flicker. This particularly affects vision during rapid eye movements called saccades.

A study from 1989 conducted by Professor Wilkins found fluorescent lighting which flickered 100 times a second doubled the chances of office workers experiencing headaches. LED light bulbs can flash 400 times a second – four times as often.

Annoying and distracting

Writing on the website The Conversation, Professor Wilkins said: ‘No similar study has yet been performed for LED lights. But because LED flickering is even more pronounced, with the light dimming by 100 per cent rather than the roughly 35 per cent of fluorescent lamps, there’s a chance that LEDs could be even more likely to cause headaches.

‘At best, it’s likely to put some people off using LED bulbs because of the annoying, distracting effect of the flickering, which we know can be detected during saccades.’

The risk of headaches may be particularly high while reading, when it is important to position the eyes carefully to scan the pages.

Flickering light bulbs disrupt the control of this eye movements, making the brain use more energy to work harder, which has been linked to headaches.

It can also cause people to suffer visual anomalies, such as double or multiple vision. The lamp in front of you may look like two or three lamps because of this visual effect when a bulb flickers.

What are LEDs?

LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are one of two main types of energy-efficient light bulbs available in the UK, along with compact fluorescent lamps. They can cost more than traditional light bulbs, but are said to be cheaper in the long-term because they last longer.

However they have faced past criticism that they emit a cold, green light and take too long to warm up.
The flickering can be solved by buying a more expensive lamp, with a direct current rather than an alternating current so that the light is constant. But the lamp’s components may not last as long.

Arlene Wilkie, chief executive at the charity The Migraine Trust, said: ‘While we do know there are certain trigger factors for migraine, such as flickering light, there isn’t a lot of evidence that LED flickering lights are bad for migraine/headache.’

 
 
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Why Does Skipping Coffee Give Me Headaches?

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Apr 212017
 

If you are a heavy coffee drinker and one day decide to cut back and stop drinking coffee entirely, chances are you’ll experience some pretty bad headaches. In this video, the folks from SciShow tell you exactly why this is happening.

I normally drink about ten cups of coffee per day but today I decided to cut back and haven’t had any caffeine but now my head hurts and I don’t know why do YOU know why!?

 
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Migraines: Not Just Another Headache

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Aug 032014
 

Hank Green of SciShow explains the biology, symptoms and how to treat a migraine.

If you’ve never had a migraine, you might think it’s just a really bad headache. But if you’ve ever had them, or you know someone who does, you know that they’re much worse — and much more complicated — than that. Hank explains the biology behind this disorder of the central nervous system, and how it can be treated.

 

Joke Of The Day: Migraine Headaches

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Mar 292013
 

Rubber ChickenA man goes to the doctor with a long history of migraine headaches.

When the doctor does his history and physical, he discovers that his poor patient has had practically every therapy known to man for his migraines and STILL no improvement.

“Listen,” says the Doctor, “I have migraines, too and the advice I’m going to give you isn’t really anything I learned in medical school, but it’s advice that I’ve gotten from my own experience. When I have a migraine, I go home, get in a nice hot bathtub, and soak for a while. Then I have my wife sponge me off with the hottest water I can stand, especially around the forehead. This helps a little. Then I get out of the tub, take her into the bedroom, and even if my head is killing me, I force myself to have sex with her. Almost always, the headache is immediately gone. Now, give it a try, and come back and see me in six weeks.”

Six weeks later, the patient returns with a big grin. “Doc! I took your advice and it works! It REALLY WORKS! I’ve had migraines for 17 years and this is the FIRST time anyone has ever helped me!”

“Well,” says the physician, “I’m glad I could help.”

“By the way, Doc,” the patient adds, “you have a REALLY nice house.”

 

 

The Cause of Brain Freeze Revealed

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May 312012
 

Most people have likely experienced brain freeze — the debilitating, instantaneous pain in the temples after eating something frozen — but researchers didn’t really understand what causes it, until now.

Previous studies have found that migraine sufferers are actually more likely to get brain freeze than people who don’t get migraines. Because of this, the researchers thought the two might share some kind of common mechanism or cause, so they decided to use brain freeze to study migraines.

Headaches like migraines are difficult to study, because they are unpredictable. Researchers aren’t able to monitor a whole one from start to finish in the lab. They can give drugs to induce migraines, but those can also have side effects that interfere with the results. Brain freeze can quickly and easily be used to start a headache in the lab, and it also ends quickly, which makes monitoring the entire event easy.

The researchers brought on brain freeze in the lab by having 13 healthy volunteers sip ice water through a straw right up against the roof of their mouth. The volunteers raised their hands when they felt the familiar brain freeze come on, and raised them again once it disappeared.

The researchers monitored the blood flow through their brains using an ultrasoundlike process on the skull. They saw that increased blood flow to the brain through a blood vessel called the anterior cerebral artery, which is located in the middle of the brain behind the eyes. This increase in flow and resulting increase in size in this artery brought on the pain associated with brain freeze. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

When the artery constricts, reining in the response to this increased flow, the pain disappears. The dilation, then quick constriction, of this blood vessel may be a type of self-defense for the brain, the researchers suggested.

“The brain is one of the relatively important organs in the body, and it needs to be working all the time,” study researcher Jorge Serrador, of Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. “It’s fairly sensitive to temperature, so vasodilation [the widening of the blood vessels] might be moving warm blood inside tissue to make sure the brain stays warm.”

This influx of blood can’t be cleared as quickly as it is coming in during the brain freeze, so it could raise the pressure inside the skull and induce pain that way. As the pressure and temperature in the brain rise, the blood vessel constricts, reducing pressure in the brain before it reaches dangerous levels.

If other headaches work in the same way, drugs that stop these blood vessels from opening up, or that could make this blood vessel constrict could help treat them, the researchers say. [Big Headaches: Facts on Migraines]

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