Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Migraine

A new option for aborting Migraine attacks performs well in trials.

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert

In 2008, I reported news to you about a new abortive treatment for Migraine with aura - without medications. A portable Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (sTMS) device that is in clinical trials was, and still is, showing great promise.

Results of a new trial,1 conducted in multiple locations, have been released, adding to the successful trial results with the sTMS device.

The Study

Introducing TMS and Migraine

I cannot begin to explain this as well as the authors of this study. Therefore, in their words...

"The presumed substrate of migraine with aura is cortical spreading depression. This effect consists of a wave of excitation followed by a wave of inhibition of both neurons and glia, which spreads across the cortical mantle. Work in animals suggests that cortical spreading depression depolarises meningeal nociceptors giving rise to migraine pain, and that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) disrupts this depression wave.

TMS is a non-invasive technique that applies a brief magnetic pulse to the scalp and underlying cortex, changing the pattern of neuronal firing. Since its discovery in 1985, it has been used for anatomic brain mapping and for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. TMS was tested in individuals with migraine based on the hypothesis that a fluctuating magnetic field delivered by the device, when applied to the back of the head, would induce electrical current and disrupt cortical spreading depression. In view of its ability to disrupt the depression wave, TMS has promise as a non-invasive, non-pharmacological, and safe treatment for migraine. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of a novel, portable, single-pulse TMS (sTMS) device for acute treatment of migraine with aura."1

Study Background

Preliminary work suggests that single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) could be effective as a treatment for migraine. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of a new portable sTMS device for acute treatment of migraine with aura.1

Study Methods:

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