� � Mar-14-2010
Scientists have claimed to have created a new gadget that is highly effective in alleviating the excruciating pain attributable to migraine headaches. Researchers at The Lancet Neurology have proposed that using a hand-held gadget that sends magnetic pulsations to the head could turn out to be a favourable means to get relief from the unbearable tenderness caused by migraine annoyances. The researchers said that the new gadget had the capacity to alleviate pain for around 48 hours in a number of patients who develop migraines along with certain visual symptoms. The best part of migraine pain treatment with the new gadget is that it is not insidious and does not cause any adverse after-effects. As mentioned before, patients having migraines with aura frequently endure eyesight problems like crisscross lines or specks of light immediately before the onset of a severe headache.
In fact, there are numerous medicines that aid in avoiding migraines, but majority of the patients say that these non-prescription drugs are not of much use in alleviating the crushing pain once a migraine has already set in. This has led the scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York to undertake a research to find more effective and harmless ways to treat the unbearable migraine headaches. During the course of their research, these scientists have held trial examinations with an alternative treatment method to relieve migraine pains. This experimental treatment method has been named single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation or sTMS in brief.
Basically, the sTMS gadget provides magnetic pulses when it is pressed against the sufferer's head generating a flow of electricity amongst the nerve cells present in the brain. It is believed that the magnetic pulsation breaks off the 'electrical storm' caused by the migraine during the aura stage or when the patient begins to have visual problems just before the migraine begins setting off the excruciating pain.
In effect, even some earlier researches on the subject observed the usefulness of the sTMS devices, but the scientists then used such outsized and costly gadgets that they were not appropriate for using outside the health centers. Therefore, before commencing the study this time, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York were focused on finding the usefulness of an sTMS device that could be used virtually anywhere holding it in the hand. In all, the researchers selected 201 subjects, all suffering from acute migraine pain, and provided 102 of them with the hand-held sTMS device, while the remaining 99 patients were given 'mock' gadgets that not only produced sounds, but also caused vibrations. However, these 'mock' devices did not send out any magnetic pulsation. Interestingly enough, the researchers were surprised to find that almost 80 per cent of the subjects from both the groups believed that they had been provided with active sTMS devices.
Each of these 201 subjects or patients belonging to both groups were asked to take the genuine as well as the 'mock' sTMS devices home and use them whenever they noticed any symptom of an aura. They were advised to use the devices to heal as many as three migraine attacks over a period of three months. Furthermore, the researchers asked them to note down the pain as well as the symptoms before the treatment and also at regular intermissions after the treatment with the device. At the end of the stipulated three months, it was found that the sTMS devices were considerably more useful compared to the 'mock' devices. Most patients using the genuine devices got relief from their migraine pains almost two hours after pressing them against their head. It was found that among the 164 subjects who suffered from migraine attacks and treated a minimum of one attack with the sTMS device, as many as 39 per cent who were provided with the genuine device got relief from pain after just two hours of using the treatment. On the other hand, 22 per cent of the sufferers using the 'mock' device experienced approximately 17 per cent remedial benefits. It was also found that in most cases migraine patients who were treated with the genuine sTMS gadget also did not suffer from recurring migraines. In comparison to those who used the 'mock' devices, patients using the real sTMS gadgets also did not have the need for any 'rescue' medicines. What is most significant is the fact that none of the patients using the sTMS device complained of any adverse after-effects owing to the treatment using the gadget. In fact, they gave high ratings to the device for being user friendly - on an average 8 out of 10.
According to the authors of the paper prepared on the research by the scientists of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, even as physicians have been endeavouring to comprehend the precise mechanism system of a migraine attack, treatment with the sTMS device certainly lessens the series of migraine attacks in a number of patients who suffer from the condition with aura or visual disorder. They say that the sTMS is likely to be a very helpful treatment for this severe condition. At the end of the paper, the authors wrapped up emphasizing the need for more research on the subject with a view to determine the most suited bout of sTMS, the most favourable timing for administering the healing process as well as making the device more inexpensive for people suffering from migraine.
It may be mentioned here that migraine is a quite widespread medical condition with approximately 10 per cent to 20 per cent people enduring this disorder. Among these patients, around 33 per cent sufferers also experience aura or visual disturbance before the onset of the excruciating migraine pain. In fact, several studies have shown that compared to men, women are generally four times more susceptible to have migraine attacks. However, so far doctors are yet to ascertain the reason behind this observable fact.