London: Scientists claimed to have developed a battery-powered device the size and shape of an electric shaver which can treat painful headaches.
Researchers from US-based ElectroCore have claimed that the gadget when held against the neck for 90 seconds can reduce the severity of migraine and cluster headache attacks, and even prevent them, the Daily Mail reported.
In some patients the device may be as effective as drugs, without any negative side effects. It has also worked for patients who have not responded to drugs, researchers said.
Results of the first trials are expected to show a 50 per cent reduction in symptoms in half of patients.
The new device generates electrical signals and is held against the right side of the neck on the skin above the pulse of the carotid artery.
A conductive gel is placed on the device to increase its effectiveness.
A small wheel is used to adjust the stimulation until moderate muscle-twitching is felt, with that power maintained for 90 seconds. In severe cases, multiple applications may be required.
One theory of how the device works is that it increases levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline, which reduces pain perception.
The gadget is available in Europe for professional and home use, but a doctor`s authorisation is required. It costs 250 pounds for a device with 150 treatments, and 150 pounds for one with 50 treatments.