Imagined smells can precede migraines

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Imagined smells can precede migraines Empty Imagined smells can precede migraines

Post by Tee on Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:54 am

NEW YORK | Fri Oct 14, 2011

(Reuters Health) - Hallucinated scents can, rarely, be a part of the "aura" that some people perceive before a migraine attack, a new study finds.

About 30 percent of people with recurrent migraines have sensory disturbances shortly before their headache hits.

Those disturbances, known as aura, are usually visual -- such as seeing flashes of light or blind spots. They can also include problems like tingling sensations or numbness, or difficulty speaking or understanding language.

But disturbances in the sense of smell -- so-called olfactory hallucinations -- have not been generally recognized as a part of migraine aura. They are not, for example, listed as an aura symptom in the international criteria doctors use to diagnose migraine.

"I think that's just because (olfactory hallucinations) have not been commonly reported," said Dr. Matthew S. Robbins, senior researcher on the new study.

But no one had done a systematic review of the medical literature on the subject until now, he told Reuters Health,

Robbins and his colleagues at the Montefiore Headache Center in New York reviewed 25 reported cases of patients with headaches (migraine in most cases) and olfactory hallucinations.

They also examined records from more than 2,100 patients seen at their center over 30 months. They found that 14 -- or just under 0.7 percent -- had described smelling scents in conjunction with their headaches.

"It's uncommon," Robbins said, "but it is distinctive."

Usually, the pre-migraine scents are not sweet. "The most common was of the burning or smoke variety," Robbins said.

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.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/14/us-smells-migraines-idUSTRE79D4L120111014

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Post by usedtobejolly on Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:42 pm

I have had the imagined smells, and they used to last for some days and be a real nuisance. I don't seem to get this so much these days, or maybe I just don't notice them any more. The first time I noticed it was after having Reiki, and it was a sort of burning smell with a touch of human in it. I carried the smell around with me and couldn't work out what it was, after a while i realised that it wasn't actually me, but just something I was smelling. After a couple of episodes I realised that I was imagining the smell.

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Post by Tee on Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:33 am

Interesting - my sense of smell get a acute but I am told the smells are real....

Did the Reiki help any??

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Post by Laura on Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:27 pm

How would I know if the smells are imagined? I hate to think I may be complaining about coworkers wearing perfume or cologne when they aren't.
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