Sick building syndrome: Uncomfortable indoor environments linked to migraines

November 6, 2012 by Marc Ransford

(Medical Xpress)—Office workers may suffer more intense migraines and more frequent headaches due to an uncomfortable indoor environment, more commonly known as sick building syndrome, says a new report from Ball State University.

"Headache symptoms and indoor environmental parameters: Results from the EPA BASE study" found employees working indoors may become sick due to abnormal levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, , light, humidity, temperature and sound.

The study found that when exposed to an uncomfortable , 38 percent of participants reported having a headache one to three days a month while nearly 8 percent had daily headaches, said Jagdish Khubchandani, a community health education professor in Ball State's Department of Physiology and Health Science. He conducted the study with Suchismita Bhattacharjee, a professor of construction management in the Department of Technology at Ball State.

"Millions of Americans and people worldwide are affected by migraines and headaches, mostly during the highly productive years of their lives," said Khubchandani, who also is a faculty fellow with the university's Global Health Institute. "Migraines and headaches lead to significant decline in quality of life, productivity and daily functioning."

Produced only once by the , this was a multicenter cross-sectional study of 4,326 employed in 100 randomly selected large office buildings across the country. The largest study of its kind used the data collected by EPA for the Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation (BASE) study during 1994-1998. Results were recently published by the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology.

As a result of the research, the authors found:

  • Females were more likely to report a headache in the last four weeks when compared to males (75 percent vs. 53 percent).
  • About 21 percent of employees admitted that a physician had diagnosed them with migraines. Females (27 percent) were significantly more likely than males (11 percent) to report a migraine diagnosis.
  • The highest levels of migraine diagnosis were for employees exposed to out-of-comfort range carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in their office buildings.
  • Exposure to out-of-comfort range indoor environmental parameters was higher in groups that reported higher headache frequencies.
Because headaches related to office environment lead to loss of workdays and decrease productivity, the authors recommend that building managers implement effective intervention strategies to reduce the prevalence of headaches and other symptoms of sick building syndrome.

"Collection of periodic data on indoor environmental parameters should become a universal practice, and based on the data, a health risk management plan for the occupants should be designed," Bhattacharjee said. "Reviewing operation and maintenance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems should be made an integral part of the strategies to reduce harmful worksite exposures."

Explore further: Migraines, strokes may be linked to childhood adversity

More information: www.annalsofian.org/article.as … ge=99;aulast=Tietjen

Related Stories

Migraines, strokes may be linked to childhood adversity

May 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Migraines, strokes and other inflammatory diseases suffered by some adult women may be linked to adverse experiences that occurred during childhood, says a new study co-authored by a Ball State University ...

Botox injections associated with only modest benefit for chronic migraine and daily headaches

April 24, 2012
Although botulinum toxin A ("Botox") injections are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for preventive treatment for chronic migraines, a review and analysis of previous studies finds a small to modest benefit for ...

Recommended for you

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

Scientists propose novel therapy to lessen risk of obesity-linked disease

July 24, 2017
With obesity related illnesses a global pandemic, researchers propose in the Journal of Clinical Investigation using a blood thinner to target molecular drivers of chronic metabolic inflammation in people eating high-fat ...

Raccoon roundworm—a hidden human parasite?

July 24, 2017
The raccoon that topples your trashcan and pillages your garden may leave more than just a mess. More likely than not, it also contaminates your yard with parasites—most notably, raccoon roundworms (Baylisascaris procyonis).

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.