Among the most surprising cures for migraine headaches are Botox and yogurt. At first, patients who had Botox injections for cosmetic reasons found they had fewer headaches. Two years ago, a study found that among 134 patients, Botox had a 92 percent success rate of decreasing migraines. A recent study suggests that the bacteria found in yogurt may help reduce migraines, based on the finding that some migraines may be linked to an infection and the bacteria in yogurt and other dairy products could fight it off.

People who suffer from migraines have family members with the same condition, suggesting there?s a genetic factor. By knowing which genes make people vulnerable to migraines, it may be possible to manipulate these genes and prevent any onset of the headaches. Aarno Palotie, of UCLA, has found a particular band on a chromosome that, among 50 Finnish families, is linked to a common form of migraine.

The environment plays a role as well, and researchers have pinpointed a few common triggers. 39% of migraine patients are sensitive to weather changes, such as increased humidity or temperature. 70% of women with migraines experience them during their menstrual cycles. Since women make up 75% of migraine sufferers, estrogen is thought to play a role in the headaches.

Chocolate, red wine, aged cheeses, cured meats, too much tea or coffee and overripe bananas have been shown to trigger migraines in many people. Aspartame, the sweetener found in many diet sodas, can give people migraines, as well as too much or too little sleep, bright or flashing lights, strong perfumes, second-hand smoke and air travel. “The bottom line is if you can learn what’s bothering you,” says researcher and migraine sufferer Michael John Coleman, “then you can avoid them and usually avoid a migraine.”

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