Neck implant eases chronic migraine by stimulating nerves
London: A neck implant that stimulate nerves in the neck with mild electrical pulses offers relief to people with chronic migraine, according to scientists.
Stephen Silberstein of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his colleagues fitted 157 people with a device that periodically stimulates the occipital nerves that feed up the neck into the rear of the brain.
The device was kept active for three months in 105 of the participants, while in the others it was switched off.
The researchers found that people with the active device had reduced number of migraines, decreasing from 22 to 16 per month - twice the reduction seen when it was switched off.
“Presuming the therapy continues to be effective, I would expect the patients it benefits to retain the implant for life,” New Scientists quoted Silberstein as saying.
Although the mechanism by which it works remains unknown, he cited a recent research in animals that suggested that it reduces concentrations of a pain neurotransmitter in the nerves.
The device was approved a year ago in Europe, but is still awaiting approval in the US.