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THIS MORNING: Migraine treatment

July 14, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
About 28 million people get migraine headaches, and medications don't always help. Now a new device is showing promise in helping to zap away pain. Studies show it's safe and easy to use and could be what millions of migraine sufferers have been waiting for. Dr. Jay Adlersberg explains. For more information on migraines, you can call the Montefiore Headache Center at 718.405.8360 or go to their web site, www.montefiore.org

The last migraine Michelle Hintzsche got pounded her head for five days. "When you wake up with a migraine, the day just goes sour from that moment on".

"When you wake up with a migraine," Michelle says, "the day just goes sour from that moment on."

Desperate for relief, Michelle enrolled in a clinical trial at the Montefiore Headache Institute. Doctors there were studying a device that zaps away head pain--specifically migraines that affect vision called "migraines with aura."

Dr. Brian Grosberg, one of the trial researchers, says it's believed that magnetic pulses from the device short-circuit the electrical storm caused by the migraine. "The unique nature of it allows patients to hopefully treat with the device as opposed to using medication," says Grosberg.

Two hundred patients were enrolled in the study. Half were given the device, and the other half a fake one.

Dr. Grosberg says the results are in, and are impressive. "Nearly 40 percent of people who had an active device got pain freedom in two hours," he says, "versus a little more than 20 percent who got pain freedom using a sham device."

Michelle demonstrated how she used the device. At the first sign of a migraine, she simply turned it on for twenty seconds. "The length of time I had it was shortened," she said of her headaches. "Or if I got it when I had aura, the migraine never came at all."

Michelle doesn't know if she got the real zapper while in the study, but says for the few months she used it her quality of life improved.

"I was happy again," Michelle said, "just a new, new way of living."

The device is awaiting FDA approval.

For more information on migraines, you can call the Montefiore Headache Center at 718.405.8360 or go to their web site, www.montefiore.org

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