Can nerve stimulation help prevent migraine?

February 6, 2013

Wearing a nerve stimulator for 20 minutes a day may be a new option for migraine sufferers, according to new research published in the February 6, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The stimulator is placed on the forehead, and it delivers to the supraorbital nerve.

For the study, 67 people who had an average of four per month were followed for one month with no treatment. Then they received either the stimulation 20 minutes a day for three months or sham stimulation, where they wore the device but the stimulation given was at levels too low to have any effect.

Those who received the stimulation had fewer days with migraine in the third month of treatment compared to the first month with no treatment. The number of days with migraine decreased from 6.9 days to 4.8 days per month. The number did not change for those who received the sham treatment.

The study also looked at the number of people who had 50 percent or higher reduction in the number of days with migraine in a month. That number was 38 percent for those who had the stimulation compared to 12 percent of those who received the sham treatment.

There were no side effects from the stimulation.

"These results are exciting, because the results were similar to those of drugs that are used to prevent , but often those drugs have many side effects for people, and frequently the side effects are bad enough that people decide to quit taking the ," said study author Jean Schoenen, MD, PhD, of Liège University in Belgium and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Explore further: Magnetic stimulation of brain may help some stroke patients recover

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Migraine in children may affect school performance

October 29, 2012

Children with migraine are more likely to have below average school performance than kids who do not have headaches, according to new research published in the October 30, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal ...

Recommended for you

Closing the loop with optogenetics

August 28, 2015

An engineering example of closed-loop control is a simple thermostat used to maintain a steady temperature in the home. Without it, heating or air conditioning would run without reacting to changes in outside conditions, ...

Self-control saps memory, study says

August 26, 2015

You're driving on a busy road and you intend to switch lanes when you suddenly realize that there's a car in your blind spot. You have to put a stop to your lane change—and quickly.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.