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Now, a magnetic device to 'switch off' migraines

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Scientists have developed a sci-fi-style device involving a magnetic beam which they claim treats migraines without painkillers and side effects.

The device that acts like a star-trek weapon, delivers a brief magnetic pulse to the back of the head, alleviating the symptoms for up to two hours, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Three months of treatment was found to relieve or reduce the excruciating pains in 73 per cent of patients treated in UK clinics.

Other symptoms of migraine, such as nausea, vertigo, memory problems and hyper-sensitivity to light and noise improved for 63 per cent of participants tested.

More than half found the number of headache days, which can be chronic, had declined to some extent.

The magnetic beam painlessly penetrates the skull so the patient just feels a vibrating effect.

It induces a very mild electrical current in the brain for a fraction of a second.

"We think neurostimulation is the future in treating headache disorders, particularly if it is non-invasive," said Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, a Hull-based neurologist who chairs the British Association for the Study of Headache.

"A significant proportion of migraine sufferers either do not respond or are unable to tolerate available oral treatments," he said.

The device which costs 500 pounds is known as the Spring Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) system and is believed to short-circuit this activity.

"Now TMS will provide them with an alternative to deal with their disabling migraines and be able to continue with their activities of daily living," said Ahmed.

Migraines, debilitating headaches which occur when the brain is over-sensitive to normal triggers, have been described as an 'electrical storm'.

The results from trial on 60 patients were revealed at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress in London.

First Published: Sun, September 23 2012. 13:05 IST