A band worn across the forehead, resembling a device from 'Star Trek,' for 20 minutes a day could help get rid of migraine headaches for millions of sufferers.
The device, called a Cefaly, costs around $400 and delivers electric impulses to the supraorbital nerve that controls sensation in and around the eye, reports the Daily Mail.
A study, publishedin the journal Neurology by the American Academy of Neurology, found that people who used the Cefaly had a third fewer migraine headaches after a couple of months.
"The device consists of a thin silver band that looks like something out of Star Trek," said Professor Jean Schoenen Liege University in Belgium, who led the study. "It is hooked over the ears and worn across the forehead like futuristic sunglasses. Patients don it once daily for 20 minutes."
"These results are exciting because they were similar to those of drugs that are used to prevent migraine. But often those drugs have many side effects and frequently they are bad enough that people decide to quit taking the drug."
Test subjects received either the stimulation 20 minutes a day for three months from the Cefaly or a sham device where the electric impulses delivered were at levels too low to have any effect.
Those given the actual stimulation by the Cefaly had fewer migraine days in the third month compared to the first, but there was no change for those given the fake device.
The study also found 38 percent of those who had the stimulation saw their symptoms cut in half, compared to 12 percent in the control group.
The Cefaly has been submitted to the FDA, but has not yet been approved.
One in four women and one in 12 men experience migraines which can be caused by alcohol, stress, fluorescent lighting and foods such as chocolate, red wine and caffeine.
Some researchers have linked migraines to hormonal changes, while others have argued a fall in air pressure reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which may cause blood vessels in the brain to dilate, triggering pain.
Source: Daily Mail