Now, a magnetic device to zap debilitating migraines

Now, a magnetic device to zap debilitating migraines

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The portable gadget which uses magnets was effective in reducing the magnitude of pain and frequency of a migraine attack.

The therapy known as neurostimulation showed a slump in the number of migraine attacks in more than half of patients prescribed it in a clinical trial.

Migraine is a neurological syndrome characterized by debilitating headaches and nausea a condition more common in women.

Symptoms of migraine headache vary from person to person. Some experience migraine headache often in a month with the ache persisting for nearly three days.

Professor Peter Goadsby, the congress joint chair and a neurologist, said: “For the many migraine sufferers whose medicines just do not do the job, it is exciting to see such an innovative, novel approach to treatment.”

The working of the portable device
The latest technique, known as Spring Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a hand held device developed by the medical technology company eNeura Therapeutics in the US.

The portable device delivers a short magnetic pulse to the back of the head that painlessly penetrates the skull. It induces a very mild electrical current in the brain for a fraction of a second and the patient just feels a slight vibrating effect.

Experts opine that it seems to disrupt the abnormal electrical activity linked with migraines.

Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, a Hull-based neurologist who chairs the British Association for the Study of Headache, said. “We think neurostimulation is the future in treating headache disorders, particularly if it is non-invasive. A significant proportion of migraine sufferers either do not respond or are unable to tolerate available oral treatments.

“Now TMS will provide them with an alternative to deal with their disabling migraines and be able to continue with their activities of daily living.”

Clinical trials
To test the safety and efficacy TMC, medics prescribed the device to 60 patients at migraine clinics in London, Bath, Hull, Exeter, Liverpool and Aberdeen. The results were promising.

It was noted that around 73 percent migraine sufferers using TMS reported a reduction or alleviation of pain. An improvement in symptoms such as nausea, vertigo, depression, memory problems and hyper-sensitivity to light and noise was perceived in 63 percent of the patients. Moreover, frequency of migraine attacks declined for more than half of the participants.

Yasmin Bibi, one of the patients in the trial said, “I have suffered migraine for nine years, tried a lot of medicines and saw different consultants to no avail. I could be completely debilitated for a whole week, needed time off work and was at my wit’s end. Now the device helps me to cope.”

The results from trial were revealed at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress in London.

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