A remote-controlled device to stop severe headache pain
Most sufferers of brutalÂ migraineÂ andÂ cluster headachesÂ are all too familiar with the warning signs of an approaching attack, but a California biotech company says it has created a device that can potentially stop the crippling pain as easily as flicking a switch.
Developed byÂ Autonomic Technologies Inc., the therapy has successfully completed a trial of itsÂ technologyÂ on European patients with cluster headaches, also known as âsuicideâÂ headaches, the Redwood City, Calif., company said Tuesday.
The same device is being trialed for use on migraine headache patients in Europe, and the company plans to offer it for patients suffering from cluster and migraine headaches in the United States, too.
During trials of the device in Europe, 67 percent ofÂ cluster headache patientsÂ were relieved of pain within 15 minutes â a far cry from hours or days some people suffer from cluster headaches, which are more severe than migraine headaches.
âItâs amazing,â said Dr.Â Frank Papay, a facial doctor at theÂ Cleveland ClinicÂ who developed the surgical technique to implant the device. Changes in most patients were remarkable, he said.
âWe could see almost immediately visual changes in the patients,â Papay said. âWe could just see them relax.â
The deviceâs electrical stimulation technology evolved out ofÂ the Cleveland Clinicâs research in deep-brain stimulation to treat Parkinsonâs disease. Itâs part of the wave of new therapies using electric impulses to treat certain conditions. The Cleveland Clinic has recognized technology as one of the top innovations for 2013.