New handheld magnetic device brings relief to migraine sufferers

Migraine sufferers may finally be able to take their treatment into their own hands thanks to a handheld, magnetic device. Last week at a congress, researchers revealed that 73% of patients who trialed the device for 3 months reported a relief or reduction in their headaches.

Headaches specialists from several clinics across the UK, including Bath, Aberdeen, Hull, Exeter, London and Liverpool, are now prescribing the non invasive and single pulse TMS, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, device, which is made by Californian company eNeura Technology.

This new data comes from a trial that involved 60 migraine sufferers being treated with TMS devices at clinics in the UK, and was presented in London last Friday at the third European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress. This news come hot on the heels of a warning that was issued by NICE, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, stating that the overuse of painkillers can actually induce headaches.

The TMS device costs in the region of £500 and is about the same weight and size as a portable radio. As soon as the sufferer senses the start of a headache, they hold the TMS to the back of the head and push a button. This then sends a short magnetic pulse directly into the brain. Scientists believe that this pulse short circuits the storm of electrical activity that is present in the brain at the start of a migraine attack.

The congress was also told that the TMS improved various other symptoms of migraine headaches in 63% of the trial participants including nausea, vertigo, hyper-sensitivity to noise and light and memory problems. More than half, 53%, also reported a reduction in the number of their headache days.