Doctors are 'excited' by drug-free migraine therapy
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Saturday 22 September 2012
A drug-free treatment for migraine which, it is claimed, alleviates pain in sufferers plagued by the chronic condition was described by doctors yesterday as an "exciting innovation".
The hand-held device, which delivers a brief magnetic pulse to the back of the head, reduced the frequency of headaches in more than half of patients prescribed it in a clinical trial.
The findings were presented at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress in London yesterday. They have not been peer reviewed or published in a medical journal.
Migraine affects an estimated eight million people in Britain. It is caused by an "oversensitive" brain which reacts to triggers such as fatigue, hunger, stress or the weather with a throbbing, headache, often accompanied by nausea and visual disturbances.
Specialists at migraine clinics in London, Bath, Hull, Exeter, Liverpool and Aberdeen prescribed the device to patients, of whom almost three-quarters (73 per cent) reported a reduction in pain. Almost two-thirds said associated symptoms such as nausea were improved. No figures for the number of patients involved in the trial, the source of funding or the cost of the device were available.
The Spring Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation device was developed by eNeura Therapeutics in the United States. Anna Andreou, headache research fellow in the anaesthetics, pain medicine and intensive care section at London's Imperial College, who tested the device, said it decreased activity along nerve pathways. "It is a safe, non-invasive technology," she said.
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."
One patient who took part in the trials, Yasmin Bibi, 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."
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. A significant proportion of migraine sufferers either do not respond to or are unable to tolerate available oral treatments."
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
The 10 Best juicers
Boxing Day sales: From Asos to Harrods, the best fashion deals
The 10 Best food processors
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...