Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Electromagnetic device may help get rid of migraine headaches

By Nicole BooneWBTW News13 AnchorPublished: November 3, 2008

It's like something you'd see on Star Trek. Placing an electromagnetic device on your head to get rid of migraine headaches. Doctors at Mayo Clinic are studying such a device and their research shows it works for some patients.

This year neurologist D. David Dodick helped design a study to see if a device, when held against the back of your head, can stop migraine headaches. "It' called a trans-cranial magnetic stimulator, " said Dr. Dodick.

You see, during a migraine attack certain networks in your brain becomes hypersensitive and activated. The device generates an electro magnetic field that penetrates your scalp and skull and short circuits that abnormal electrical activity.

Dr. Dodick and colleagues divided 267 people into two groups. One used the real device when they got a migraine and the other group used a sham device. "The group who stimulated with the real device did significantly better than the group with the sham device. They feel improvement anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours later."

And unlike many migraine medications, the device seems to have no side effects says study safety monitor Dr. Bart Demaerschalk. "It appears to be exceedingly safe and a nonpharmacological opportunity for treatment of migraine."

"It definitely improves pain and it definitely improves other symptoms like the nausea and sensitivity to light and noise," said Dr. Dodick.

Trans-cranial magnetic stimulation is still in the investigational phase and is not approved by the food and drug administration. But Dr. Dodick and Dr. Demaerschalk hope the device will be available to the public within a year or so.

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