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Foods and visual disturbances

Printed From: Dairy Science and Food Technology
Category: Nutrition and heath matters
Forum Name: Nutrition and health
Forum Description: General matters related to nutrition
Printed Date: 10 Jun 2023 at 7:51am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.03 -

Topic: Foods and visual disturbances
Posted By: Admin
Subject: Foods and visual disturbances
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2010 at 11:52pm
When the forum was down I received a number of Emails concerning a person experiencing zigzag vision, accompanied by a central blind spot, a general reduction in light intensity and 'rainbow' effects around their peripheral vision.
Zigzag images present in aura headache
During the incidents, particularly the first one, he became very anxious. Also he could not read the text on a book properly either.  He first experienced this frightening phenomenon about 2 hours or so after eating blue cheese. The condition lasted around 15-20 minutes and things returned to normal after this. He was convinced the problem was due to some compound in the cheese and started a very interesting round of detailed Emails.
The condition was eventually diagnosed as a “migraine with an aura” even though he initially did not go on to have a headache.  He was also advised that the visual disturbance could also be described as a 'blind headache' and / or a “scintillating scotoma” and that it was harmless.
I was aware that migraines had been linked to high levels of tyramine which can occur in red wine, mature cheese, smoked fish, chocolate and some other foods but was unaware of visual phenomena that might be induced by normal, uncontaminated, foods and took the opportunity to review the area. It quickly became apparent that nitrate could also be a significant trigger for these visual disturbances but that there appeared to be a range of other non-food triggers.
Because the first visual disturbance had such a profound effect on the person concerned I have used this post to provide some information on aura migraines / blind headaches / scintillating scotoma.
The New Zealand artist Gill Knox has produced an impression of what she experiences when suffering from a scintillating scotoma.
Migraine headache aura by artist Gill Knox 
 Image reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner Gill Knox.
Dr. Alexander Mauskop the director and founder of the New York Headache Center has produced a video explaining migraine aura headaches and this can be accessed on YouTube- url has moved..
I intend to do some more work in this area and would be interested in hearing from people who have identified food triggers for headaches or visual disturbances.

Posted By: Admin
Date Posted: 09 Sep 2010 at 11:58pm
I have had around 10 Emails including one from a clinician working in this area concerning this post.
The clinician regretfully declined to comment on this subject on the forum but sent me a - URL to a recent On Line British Medical Journal (BMJ) article by neurologists, Klaus Berger and Stefan Evers. The work cited by Berger and Evers suggests that patients who regularly experience migraine with visual auras may be at increased risk of  death from cardiovascular disease and hemorrhagic stroke.
It would not be appropriate to have any further posts on this subject since this is not a medical site.

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