New device may help reduce migraines

Posted on: 1:11 pm, December 18, 2013, by

(KPLR) – Millions of people suffer migraines every year. While there is no known cure, the FDA has approved a new drug-free treatment.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota was one of 16 centers chosen to participate in a study of the new device.

While medication works most of the time for many, a new device is the very first just approved by the FDA fortreatment of migraines with auras.

It’s called the Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator. 

“I think it’s exciting because it’s very, very safeand it gives us a non medication alternative,” explains Dr. Bret Haake, a neurologist with Health Partners. “A lot of headache disorders are actually worsened by over-using medications and so anything  we can to do to get people to use less medications for their headaches tend to be better.”

Held against the back of the skull, the device sends a pulse of magnetic energy through the skull into the occipital cortex of the brain.

“The theory is by changing the electric field in the nerve cells in the brain that it can change the chemical balanceand the way the nerve cells are communicating with each otherand that can tilt the balance and make the headache go away,” explains Dr. Haake.

The company that makes the device is still determining when it will be available in the United States. 

It will only be available by prescription.