Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mobile Phone Apps Ideas: Migraine Forecasting

Like many Americans, we suffer from occasional migraine headaches. A few of these migraine headaches become what we refer to as "grand mal" migraines. These intense headaches result in nausea and intense pain. One of our favorite mobile phone apps has been a headache diary in which we record the date, time, intensity, and environment for each migraine. While a headache diary is a good idea for a mobile phone app, it is unfortunately a post-migraine app.

We believe America is ripe for a pre-headache, migraine forecasting mobile phone app.

Here's how a migraine headache forecasting app would work:

1) Many migraines are caused by a change in barometric air pressure. From our headache diary, we know that our worst headaches occur when air pressure increases (highs) above a certain threshold. Others have migraines triggered by a drop in air pressure (lows). Thus a migraine forecasting app would need the ability to enter a warning air pressure threshold and direction (+ / -).

2) The National Weather Service issues hourly weather observations in RSS format. These hourly observations include the barometric pressure in two forms. The RSS observations feed use a standardized CGI based URL encoded with a four character identifier for the desired reporting station. Thus, a migraine forecasting app would need the ability to enter a four character NWS identifier and pull the matching RSS feed at least hourly. A bonus feature might be the ability to enter a 5-digit zipcode and lookup the corresponding NWS identifier.

3) The app would compare the previous hours air pressure reading to the current hour's air pressure reading to set a increase or decrease flag.

4) The app would compare the current air pressure against the warning threshold air pressure.

5) If the current air pressure were at or above/below the warning threshold, the app would sound an audible alarm, flash a visual alarm, and perhaps generate a system message, much like an appointment reminder.

That's my new mobile phone app idea. A simple migraine forecasting app that would alert migraine suffers in ample time to take some pills, down some caffeine, and/or adjust their environment to prevent "the big one."

If you are an app developer, go for it. You don't need my permission and I'm not very interested in royalties.


  1. +1! I am in the migraines on low pressure dip camp. That's how I found your blog -- a search for

    barometric pressure forecast app

    brought me here. You know that this data must exist because the weather maps to track projected isobars are used by weather forecasts on every weather service. So... Why can't we get pinpoint data?

    It would be *so* useful.

    Don't even ask about Hurricane Sandy. *Bad* trip.

  2. I couldn't be more agreeable with this idea. I also belong to the low pressure dip camp. For migraine sufferers such as myself, this would be an incredibly beneficial app. The newer mobile devices even have a built-in Barometric gauge to provide data even without a connection! I only hope that someone capitalizes on the idea and helps us unlucky folks so devastatingly affected by this meteorological event.