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Potential new treatment to prevent migraines

Monday 2nd March 2015
An innovative new treatment could help the millions of people that suffer from migraine headaches. Image Credit: Thinkstock
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It is estimated that around a fifth of women and one in 15 men in the UK suffer from migraines, but a new breakthrough treatment could reduce the amount of medication they have to take.

The novel technique could change how doctors are able to treat the condition, which can cause nausea, vision problems and dizziness. 
Presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's Annual Scientific Meeting, the new treatment could offer relief to patients with chronic migraine problems. The study looked at 112 patients suffering from migraine or cluster headaches who were all asked to judge the severity of their headaches according to a visual analogue scale (VAS).

Ranging from one to ten, the study found that scores dropped significantly after the treatment, which involved a spaghetti-sized catheter being inserted into the nasal passages to administer four percent lidocaine, was delivered. This approach enabled teams to easily target the sphenopalatine ganglion - a cluster of nerves associated with migraines - in a non-invasive way.

Before treatment, patients recorded a VAS score of 8.25, on average. A day after their therapy, participants reported 4.10 on the scale and 30 days after their average score was 5.25. In addition, 88 per cent of patients indicated that they required less or no migraine medication for ongoing relief.

Dr Kenneth Mandato, the study's lead researcher and an interventional radiologist at Albany Medical Center, said migraines are one of the most common, debilitating diseases, and the cost of medication can be "overwhelming".

He said: "Intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion blocks are image-guide, targeted, breakthrough treatments. They offer a patient-centreed therapy that has the potential to break the migraine cycle and quickly improve patients' quality of life." 

The team added that, although the technique offers relief from the pain of migraines, it does not offer a cure and it would only serve as a temporary solution for sufferers.

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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