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Headache Specialists Convene in Boston For 50th Annual American Headache Society Meeting

BOSTON, June 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Headache specialists meet today in Boston for the 50th annual meeting of the American Headache Society. Learn more about headache and face pain developments of the last 50 years -- including the top five advances in headaches -- and what researchers envision for the future.

For additional information, contact: Gina Czark at 312.558.1770, ext. 139 or or visit

Among the topics being presented, include:

-- WHY PAIN BECOMES CHRONIC: Research shows previously unknown role certain

brain cells play in triggering chronic headaches for 9 million Americans

Think that pain medication is helping you ease the throbbing of a

headache? Think again. Researchers discovered neurons are not the only

carrier of pain signals to the brain. Glial cells, which outnumber

neurons 20:1, have been shown to prompt chronic pain in a variety of

ways, such as by a virus, nerve damage or even medication. Morphine and

other opiates also activate glial cells, which mean those drugs

you're taking to alleviate pain might actually be making it worse.


SHORT-CIRCUITING MIGRAINES: Research shows 7 million Americans could

benefit from this treatment

Imagine simply zapping away the pain at the onset of a migraine, instead

of gulping medication and waiting for relief. Researchers are presenting

encouraging results showing a portable transcranial magnetic stimulation

device would help an estimated 39 percent of migraine sufferers. The

device, about the size and weight of a hairdryer, works by placing it to

the back of the head and pushing a button twice, sending a very brief

magnetic field pulse into the brain. The 16-site multicenter,

randomized, double blind study is the first rigorous test of the

magnetic stimulation device.


Implanted Device Helps Alleviate Near-Daily Migraines

Stimulating a nerve might be just the ticket to help relieve the pain of

chronic migraine sufferers. Occipital nerve stimulation, in which an

implanted neurostimulator sends electrical impulses to the central

nervous system, has been shown to help 40 percent of near-daily migraine

sufferers who don't have success with standard pain medication.

Stimulating the occipital nerve, which ignites a tingling sensation,

appears to activate mechanisms that block the perception of pain in the


SOURCE American Headache Society
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