Today in Research: Hallucinations Before Migraines; Vitamin Worries

Today in research: barking piranhas, hallucinatory pre-migraine smells, the thing about vitamins, and which types of punctuation get a study noticed.

  • Smell hallucinations prior to a migraine have been overlooked. A Montefiore Headache Center in New York meta-analysis highlighted by Reuters informs us that, although it's uncommon to have an olefactory hallucination prior to a migraine, there have been some cases. This is what was smelled by these people, it seems to be pretty varied: "Some headache sufferers described a general burning smell, while others said they smelled cigar smoke, wood smoke or burned popcorn. After those burning scents, 'decomposition' odors -- like garbage or sewage -- were the next most common. A few people did describe pleasant odors, including the scent of oranges, coffee, or, in one case, foie gras." [Reuters]
  • This just about tops off the week in vitamin worries. In just a few days there were two widely covered studies that came to pointed conclusions about the detrimental effects of both vitamin E and multivitamin supplements. Today, the Associated Press published an explainer noting all the caveats that you'd read on a typical pill bottle (i.e. a variation of vitamins aren't proven to be good for you). It did, however, quote the president of Consumerlabs.org, "a company that tests supplements and publishes ratings for subscribers," saying something pretty striking about different types of vitamin products: "One out of 4 either doesn't contain what it claims or has some other problems such as contamination or the pills won't break apart properly." [Associated Press]

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