Portable Device Zaps Away Pain


The study concluded that the experimental device is safe and effective in eliminating headaches when administered during the onset of the migraine. Previous studies, using a heavy and bulky transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS) device, reduced headache pain. To expedite treatment at home, a portable hand-held device was developed and tested.

Of the 164 patients involved in the multi-center, randomised clinical trial receiving TMS treatment, 39 percent were pain free at the two-hour post-treatment point, compared to 22 percent in the group receiving "sham" pulses. There were no differences reported related to adverse reactions between the two groups.

The noninvasive TMS device interrupts the aura phase of the migraine, often described as electrical storms in the brain, before they lead to headaches. Migraine sufferers often describe "seeing" showers of shooting stars, zigzagging lines and flashing lights, and experiencing loss of vision, weakness, tingling or confusion, followed by intense throbbing head pain, nausea and vomiting.

"Stimulation with magnetic pulses from the portable TMS device proved effective for the migraine patients," said Doctor Yousef Mohammad from Ohio State University. "Because of the lack of adverse events in this trial and the established safety of the TMS device, this is a promising treatment for migraines with aura.”

The TMS device sends a strong electric current through a metal coil, which creates an intense magnetic field for about one millisecond. This magnetic pulse, when held against a person's head, creates an electric current in the neurons of the brain, interrupting the aura before it results in a throbbing headache. "The device's pulses are painless and safe," Mohammad said.

COMPAMED.de; Source: Ohio State University