Teens Use iPods to Track Migraine Attacks

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • Migraine is thought to be a neurologic genetic disease that affects the entire body. As difficult as it is for adults to deal with Migraine pain, adolescents have their own challenges with it. It's thought that as many as 10% of children may have Migraine, according to the American Headache Society. A presentation at the American Headache Society's Scientific Meeting in June showed that teens who have Migraine disease and used a Migraine diary on their phone were able to give doctors a better picture of their Migraine frequency and severity.

     

    Migraine specialists often encourage their patients to use a Migraine dairy. A diary is very helpful with trigger identification and determining if our Migraines have certain patterns. The objective of this unique investigation of teens was "to describe feasibility and initial results of an electronic headache diary to assess pain and functioning in adolescents with Migraine." Adolescents in the study used the Apple app iMigraine, designed to "track momentary assessments of pain and functioning." Teens who had more than four Migraine attacks a month, 11-18 years old, and had been diagnosed as having Migraine with and/or without aura used this application on an iPod Touch for 45 days. The data was then sent through a wireless internet connection to a data management center which showed real-time symptoms and behaviors.

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    The teens input their data regarding headache severity, frequency and length. Researchers also wanted to know how disabled they were, what their mood was and how their stress level was during a Migraine attack. Other information that was entered included if they were sticking to good lifestyle choices, including drinking enough water, maintaining a proper sleep schedule and getting enough exercise. At the time of the presentation, there were eight teens in the study, but the enrollment is 45. The current participants have completed almost 77% of the questions and there have been no reports of technical difficulties.

     

    The results of this study revealed that "use of electronic momentary, daily diary measurements can allow for 'real-time' data collection in the subject's own environment, provide a richer context to examine the with-in person processes associated with pain, and limit the potential for recall bias with retrospective rating of pain parameters." Researchers feel using this method may be a successful way to develop better approaches to treating teens with Migraine.

     

    Anyone who has seen a teenager with their phone knows their entire life centers on it. Using a phone application to track real-time Migraine symptoms seems like a step forward in helping teens deal with their Migraines. For preteens and teens still too young for smart phones, these applications are also avialable for the iPod touch, which is what was used in this study.

     

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    Resources:

     

    Sullivan, S.M., Kroner, J.W., Aylward, B.S., Kabbouche, M.A., O'Brien, H., Kacperski, J. Hershey, A.D., Powers, S.W. "A Mobile Application To Track Pain and Functioning in Adolescents: Feasibility and Initial Results." 54th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society. Oral Presentation. June, 2012. 

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    © The HealthCentral Network, 2012
    Last Updated July 31, 2012.

     

Published On: August 01, 2012