Magnetic gun has cure for headaches in its sights

I am sending you along an article from last Sunday's THE SUNDAY TIMES.

The article although devoid of any mention that external interferences from cellphone RF/MWs and other EMR emissions can trigger headaches, the question of such interferences naturally arises from facts presented in the article. After all when research studies suggest that "'headaches and migraines were caused by a wave of electrical activity spreading across the cortex, the outer layer of the brain.. . .'" it's logical to pose the question: and what external stimuli would most likely excite such abnormal brain waves of electrical activity?

Headaches, as we are well aware, are reported very frequently on lists of adverse health effects from mobile phones' electromagnetic radiation. The former director general of the WHO, Dr Gro Bruntland acknowledged that she gets headaches from cellphones' EMR emissions.

Best, Imelda, Cork

From News, page 7. August 1, 2004

"Magnetic gun has cure for headaches in its sights

Michael Fox and Jonathan Leake

SCIENTISTS may have found a painless and drug-free treatment for the common headache — using an electric “gun” to fire magnetic pulses into the brain.

The technique claims to block headaches, migraines and possibly even epileptic fits by soothing the brain cells from which they originate and damping down the surge of nervous impulses that cause pain.

So far the system is experimental but tests on humans have suggested that it can block the onset of even the severest migraines.

The researchers are designing a magnetic device that can be kept at home and then used to fire soothing magnetic rays into the head when sufferers feel a headache developing.

If the device went into widespread use, it could deal a big blow to Britain’s £300m-a-year market for headache pills.

Dr Adrian Upton, head of neurology at McMaster University hospital in Ontario, Canada, is to publish research on the technique in Neurology journal this autumn.

He said he was hopeful that, for many patients, the magnetic gun could mean an end to headaches, migraines and other related conditions.

About 10% of Britons suffer migraines — powerful headaches thought to be caused by disruption of the electrical signalling systems between brain cells.

Many more people suffer regular headaches that are less intense but can heavily impair what they are able to do. Epilepsy, a separate illness but possibly with similar causes, can be even more severe.

The idea that magnetism might help has been around for decades and is widely used in complementary therapies.

Conventional medicine has experimented with magnetism as a cure for depression and epilepsy but such techniques have never gained wide acceptance. However, anecdotal evidence that people who underwent brain scans using magnetic resonance imaging were cured of headaches has prompted renewed interest.

Upton’s studies suggested headaches and migraines were caused by a wave of electrical activity spreading across the cortex, the outer layer of the brain. Studies have shown that after each neuron fires off a signal to its neighbours it undergoes a brief quiet spell.

Upton’s theory was that hitting such cells with a magnetic pulse could prevent them sending more signals and so block the migraine or headache before it spread.

“The best way of thinking about it is like a forest fire,” he said. “By having a controlled burn you remove fuel for the fire. The same thing happens with neurons. Once they are hit with a magnetic pulse they cannot become excited, so the flames die out.”

So far the research has been carried out with laboratory apparatus but Upton has shrunk this into a hand-held device that he plans to market through a company, NeuraLieve, set up for the purpose.

Some experts are sceptical. Dr Peter Goadsby, director of the headache referral unit at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, said the idea was “interesting” but he thought it unlikely such a device could stop the onset of many migraines.

However, Brenda Holt, a high school vice-principal from Ontario who was treated with the device for her severe cluster headaches said she had found the experiment helpful.

“They kept trying me on different medications, none of which worked, but after my first magnetic treatment the headache just went,” she said.

“I went several more months without another, which has never happened before.”


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August 2004

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