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Technology eases migraine pain in the deep brain
Date:4/30/2012

journal "Headache." It is currently available online.

Thirty-six million Americans suffer from migraine, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Of these, 14 million of them experience chronic daily headaches. "The fact that people still suffer from migraines means that the existing treatments using electrical technology or chemistry are not working," said Professor Bikson.

Existing brain stimulation technologies can help relieve a migraine already underway. But those afflicted with chronic migraine pain may suffer 15 or more attacks a month, making treatment a constant battle.

The other techniques also have drawbacks from heavy, unwieldy equipment to serious side effects, such as seizures. Some only stimulate the upper layers of the brain. Others reach deep brain regions, but require brain surgery to implant the electrodes.

The tDCS technology is safe, easy to use, and portable, Professor Bikson said. "You can walk around with it and keep it in your desk drawer or purse. This is definitely the first technology that operates on just a 9-volt battery and can be applied at home." He envisions future units as small as an iPod.

The next step will be to scale up clinical trials to a larger study population. A market-ready version of the tDCS is still years away.

"There's something about migraine pain that's particularly distressing," noted Professor Bikson. "If it's possible to help some people get just 30 percent better, that's a very meaningful improvement in quality of life."


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Contact: Jessa Netting
jnetting@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-7615
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

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