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article imageFDA approves new device for treating migraines

By Tim Sandle     Sep 18, 2014 in Health
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the go-ahead for two new devices to be marketed for the treatment of migraines. The devices offer a different option to established treatments.
Migraine is not an ordinary headache. It is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms, such as flashing lights and vomiting. There is also a potential association with health problems in later life, with migraine sufferers more likely to suffer from strokes or neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.
Most treatments for migraine involve popping pills and lying down in a dark room. Two medical devices offer an alternative.
The two new approved FDA devices are Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator or the Cefaly transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device. Michael Hoffmann, a biomedical engineer with FDA, told Controlled Environments why current treatments are often ineffective: “A drug may have the potential for systemic side effects because it’s ingested and metabolized. It may also have a variety of side effects that vary from person to person.”
Hoffman then proceeded to outline the alternative devices: “Patients have been looking for alternative migraine treatments. Because these devices aren’t ingested or metabolized like drug therapies, they don’t necessarily have the same types of side effects.”
With the Cerena device, this is intended to be used when people feel a headache coming on or when the pain begins. The device is intended to be held at the back of the head. On pressing a button, the device releases a very short (less than one second) magnetic pulse to stimulate the brain’s occipital cortex (the back part of the brain that processes visual information).
Alternatively, the Cefaly device is transcutaneous (that means it passes through the skin). The device works by electrical nerve stimulation. The device comes as a plastic headband worn across the forehead. It is a preventive treatment for migraine headaches. Patients can use Cefaly daily, and the treatment has been shown to reduce the number of days during which they experience migraines.
If both devices prove successful, then they could make the lives of those living with migraines much easier.
More about Fda, Migraines, Medicine, Headaches, Health
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