A study carried out by the Society for Headache and Migraine Patients has found that the majority of Greeks still believe that the so-called “evil eye” (“mati”) is responsible for making their head hurt.
The study, which was carried out on a sample of 10,000 people to gauge public awareness of the causes and cures for headaches, found that 60 percent of respondents blame their headaches on ill-wishers and 40 percent believe that they can be cured with an incantation known as “xematiasma.”
“There is a prevalence of misguided theories concerning headaches and their cure,” said Dr Dimos Mitsikostas, an associate professor of neurology at Athens University and head of the society, said ahead of World Migraine Day on September 12. “It is important to dispel these prevalent myth and to break certain taboos, like fear of visiting a neurologist.”
“Headaches are discounted by the boss, the romantic partner and often even by the doctor,” Mitsikostas said, explaining how patients suffering from headaches and migraines are often misunderstood. “Most people associate headaches with some psychological factor when they are, in fact, cause by a biological disorder of the brain.”
The expert notes that while susceptibility to migraines and headaches may be genetic, there is a variety of factors that can bring them on, from consumption of certain foods and alcohol, to weather conditions and even a change in routine.
He also notes that women tend to be more susceptible than men.
“We found that two-fifth of women have a genetic predisposition, while 8.2 percent of the population suffers from headaches and migraines,” Mitsikostas said.