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

Brain activity may predict risk of falls in older people

December 7, 2016

Measuring the brain activity of healthy, older adults while they walk and talk at the same time may help predict their risk of falls later, according to a study published in the December 7, 2016, online issue of Neurology.

Knowing one's place in a social hierarchy

December 7, 2016

When you start a new job, it's normal to spend the first day working out who's who in the pecking order, information that will come in handy for making useful connections in the future. In an fMRI study published December ...

Deep brain stimulation may not boost memory

December 7, 2016

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of areas in the brain known to be involved in making memories does not improve memory performance, according to a study by Columbia University researchers published December 7 in Neuron. The study ...

When neurons are 'born' impacts olfactory behavior in mice

December 7, 2016

New research from North Carolina State University shows that neurons generated at different life stages in mice can impact aspects of their olfactory sense and behavior. The work could have implications for our understanding ...

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.