Magnets to treat migraines?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Transcranial magnetic stimulation temporarily disrupts brain function.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) involves delivering short magnetic pulses to the brain. According to Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the magnetic devices can be used to treat severe head pain.

More specifically, the TMS device was approved for migraines – extremely severe head pain that can result in vomiting and sensitivity to light. They affect about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 12 men in the UK, but these victims may soon find relief.

In a trial with 164 migraine patients, TMS worked twice as well as other treatments. Additionally, about 40% of the test subjects stayed pain-free after using the device. These may not be the best results, but they were good enough for the NICE to approve.

“Huge numbers of sufferers find their lives blighted by migraine,” explained Wendy Thomas, chief executive at the charity the Migraine Trust. “We welcome NICE guidance that may help deliver brighter futures to many people for whom other treatments have not worked.”

Featured image courtesy of Leland Francisco on Flickr. Image of magnetic treatment courtesy of the National Institution of Mental Health.