Headlines, News, and Migraines

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • If you've been keeping an eye out for Migraine news recently, there have been several topics reported in multiple places. Some of you have emailed, wanting to know why I wasn't reporting on these "new" developments. There's a simple answer -- they're not new, and I've already written about them, some of them up to a year ago.

    Much of what we're seeing are articles that are the result of press releases that are coming out about clinical trials. The subjects are often ones that we've been discussing for quite some time. What makes them news is that these are reports on specific clinical trials being conducted somewhere. The "articles" that we often see are simply the press releases that have been reworded for an article. One thing I can tell you is that you'll never see that here or on my personal site, HelpForHeadaches.com. Why? Because I think my readers are a great deal like me, and I always have questions that aren't answered in those press releases. In many cases, there are also medical journal articles that have been or are about to be published on these topics, and the answers to our questions are often in those journal articles. Thus, I will not base an article on the press release alone, but see if there's a related journal article available or if perhaps I can interview one of the researchers.
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    There are two topics that readers are asking me about with regularity:
    • PFO and Migraine. PFO stands for patent foramen ovale. It's a hole in the wall that divides the two chambers of the heart. We all have them before we're born, but they usually close. There is evidence that PFOs can cause stroke. In fact, Ariel Sharon's stroke was caused by a PFO. There's also some evidence that a PFO can allow some unoxygenated blood to make it's way to the brain and trigger Migraines. Clinical trials are underway to see if closing PFOs in Migraineurs will reduce the frequency of Migraine. For more information, see PFO and Migraine: "Hole in the Heart" and Migraine Connection?
    • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) - the "Migraine Zapper." The TMS device sends an electric current through a metal coil, creating a magnetic field,
      which activates nerve cells in the brain, pre-empting the electrical hyperexcitability that is building in the brain and (theoretically) aborting the Migraine attack. At this point, the TMS device is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only as an investigational device while clinical studies are being conducted. For more information, see Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Short-Circuiting Migraines?
Published On: April 28, 2007