The battery-powered gadget that can zap the agony of migraine

A battery-powered gadget the size and shape  of an electric shaver may be a new way to treat painful headaches.

Studies suggest the device – which is held  against the neck for 90 seconds – may reduce the severity of migraine and  cluster headache attacks, and even prevent them.

Researchers say that for some patients the  device may be as effective as drugs, without any negative side effects. It has also worked for patients  who have not responded to drugs.

Results of the first trials are expected to  show a 50 per cent reduction in symptoms  in half of patients.

Both migraine and cluster headaches are  significant health problems in the UK.

An estimated 5.6 million people have migraine  attacks, on average once a month, with three times as many women as men  affected. The cause is unknown, but levels of serotonin, the so-called feel-good  chemical, drop during a migraine.

Although drug treatments are effective for  many patients, they do not work for all and can have side effects.

Cluster headaches, in which the attacks occur  in succession or ‘clusters’, are less common, affecting around one in 1,000  people and mostly men. The pain, usually around one eye or the temple, is  described by sufferers as excruciating.

The new device, developed by US-based  ElectroCore, generates electrical signals and is held against the right side of  the neck on the skin above the pulse of the carotid artery. A conductive gel is  placed on the device to increase its effectiveness.

The gadget is available in Europe for professional and home use, but a doctor¿s authorisation is required

The gadget is available in Europe for professional and  home use, but a doctor¿s authorisation is required

A small wheel is used to adjust the  stimulation until moderate muscle-twitching is felt, with that power maintained  for 90 seconds. In severe cases, multiple applications may be required.

Exactly how it works is not clear. One theory  is it increases levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline,  which reduces pain perception.

The device is being tested in the US and  Europe, including a study of around 50 patients at London’s Royal Free Hospital  and a site in Dublin.

The gadget is available in Europe for  professional and home use, but a doctor’s authorisation is required. It costs £250 for a device with 150 treatments, and £150 for one with 50  treatments.

One thought on “The battery-powered gadget that can zap the agony of migraine

  1. The device is not unlike UK Dr. James Colthurst’s “fenzian” at fenzian com. It uses nanotechnology to treat as well as create pain using nuclear magnetic spectroscopy and radar differential interferometry invented in the US. EUMedic maintains offices in Littleton, CO as well as UK. The device is insideous. Read more Diana Chronicles/Tina Brown p484. -KLS

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