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L.Srikumar Pai
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Now, a magnetic device that head off migraine pain in two hrs


In a ray of hope for millions of migraine patients for whom available drugs are of no help, American scientists have claimed to have developed a magnetic 'pain-zapper' that can relieve a sufferer of headache within two hours.

The device, of the size and weight of a hair-dryer, is based on a technique called single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) in which electrical currents produced by powerful magnets are used to stimulate brain cells.

At the first sign of a migraine, the device is held against the back of the head and switched on. It gives out two fleeting bursts of electricity which short-circuit the 'electrical storm' in the brain that causes the splitting pain, flashing lights and blurred vision associated with migraine.

The device, developed by Californian firm Neuralieve, has been tested on around 160 migraine patients -- both male and female, the Daily Mail reported.

As part of the study, half of the patients were given the gadget and half a dummy device that looked almost identical, to take home. They were told to treat up to three attacks at the first sign of symptoms and to record how they got on.

Almost 40 per cent of those who used the device were free of pain two hours later compared with 22 per cent in the other group.

Those who used the gadget were also more likely to be pain-free 24 and 48 hours later, according to a report in the journal Lancet Neurology.

According to the researchers, the electrical pulses produced by the gadget calm the over-excited brain cells responsible for migraines.

Dr Hans-Christoph Diener, a headache expert from Germany, cautioned that more work was needed to find the best way to use the device and that it could potentially trigger fits in epileptics.

But, he added: "sTMS could be a major step forward in the treatment of migraines with aura."

Migraine feature in the World Health Organisation's top 20 most disabling lifetime conditions and affects one in eight men and women.

The device is being assessed for sale in Britain and is expected to cost around 1,000 pounds.

( Agencies / Yahoo news )

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