Ein kanadischer Neurologe arbeitet an einem Pistolen-ähnlichem Gerät, welches in der Lage sein soll, die Ausbreitung der Migräne-Aura durch magnetische Pulse zu stoppen und damit den Migräneanfall zu beenden, bevor er begonnen hat.
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No magic bullet will cure migraines, but scientists say they're working on a magic gun. If all goes according to plan, migraine victims will one day be able to put a gun-like device to their heads and fire magnetic pulses into their skulls, stopping the migraines before they develop.
Dr. Adrian Upton, head of neurology at McMaster University in Hamilton, is working with U.S. inventors on making such a device available.
Four years ago, with the help of American inventor Robert Fischell and his son, Doug Fischell, Upton came up with the idea of using a machine to disrupt the electrical activity that causes a migraine as it travels through the brain, effectively cutting off a headache before it starts.
The onset of a migraine, which is called an aura, begins with unusual electrical activity somewhere in the brain, then starts to spread, Upton said.
Migraine sufferers recognize the aura symptoms as showers of shooting stars or flashing lights in their eyes, loss of vision, weakness and tingling.
"The electrical activity that spreads across the brain is a group of neurons that are firing off, causing electrical signals to develop in the nervous system," he said. "These are the prelude to a headache. If you could stop those, you could stop the development of a headache."
Upton created a machine called a transcranial magnetic stimulator to test his theory, and early tests showed him that it did stop the spread of electrical activity through the brain.
But he knew such a bulky method wouldn't work in the long run.
"The machine weighs nearly 60 pounds, so clearly this is impractical," he said. "Now my American colleagues have developed a hand-held stimulator, which does the same thing."
United under the incorporated name of NeuraLieve, Upton and the Fischells began testing patients, both with the machine and the hand-held gun.
The device is held to a patient's head for two short pulses, five seconds apart.
So far, in limited testing, the device is 12 for 12 when used on patients during the aura stage of a migraine, Upton said.