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New therapy based on magnetic stimulation shows promise for non-drug treatment for migraine
Date:4/29/2009

A new UCSF study examining the mechanism of a novel therapy that uses magnetic pulses to treat chronic migraine sufferers showed the treatment to be a promising alternative to medication.

The therapy is called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. Study findings were presented today (April 29, 2009) during the annual American Academy of Neurology scientific meeting in Seattle.

In a previous randomized controlled clinical study by Ohio State University Medical Center, TMS was used to treat patients who suffer from migraine with aura, a condition in which a variety of mostly visual sensations come before or accompany the pain of a migraine attack. The study showed that TMS treatment was superior to the placebo given to the control group. Patients were pain-free at follow-up intervals of 2, 24 and 48 hours.

In the new study, conducted in rats, UCSF researchers focused on understanding the mechanism of action of TMS therapy -- how the treatment interacted with the brain to produce the pain-free outcomes of patients in the previous study.

The UCSF research identified potential opportunities to enhance treatment strategies in patients. One example, the study team noted, was that factors such as time and peak intensity of stimulation may be important components in the brain's response to TMS.

"The data demonstrate a biological rationale for the use of TMS to treat migraine aura," said Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, lead investigator of the study, professor and director of the UCSF Headache Center. "We found that cortical spreading depression, known as CSD and the animal correlate of migraine aura, was susceptible to TMS therapy, with the wave of neuronal excitation blocked on over 50 percent of occasions."

The study findings showed that migraine aura responds to magnetic stimulation because TMS therapy blocks the wave of neuronal excitation, which is a biological system through which neurons become stimulated
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Contact: Lauren Hammit
lhammit@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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