Treatment of migraine with pulsing electromagnetic fields: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Sherman RA, Acosta NM, Robson L.
Orthopedic Surgery Service, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA 98431, USA.
The effect of exposure to pulsing electromagnetic fields on migraine
activity was evaluated by having 42 subjects (34 women and 8 men), who
met the International Headache Society's criteria for migraine,
participate in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Each subject
kept a 1-month, pretreatment, baseline log of headache activity prior to
being randomized to having either actual or placebo pulsing
electromagnetic fields applied to their inner thighs for 1 hour per day,
5 days per week, for 2 weeks. After exposure, all subjects kept the log
for at least 1 follow-up month. During the first month of follow-up,
73% of those receiving actual exposure reported decreased headaches (45%
good decrease, 14% excellent decrease) compared to half of those
receiving the placebo (15% worse, 20% good, 0% excellent). Ten of the 22
subjects who had actual exposure received 2 additional weeks of actual
exposure after their initial 1-month follow-up. All showed decreased
headache activity (50% good, 38% excellent). Thirteen subjects from the
actual exposure group elected not to receive additional exposure. Twelve
of them showed decreased headache activity by the second month (29%
good, 43% excellent). Eight of the subjects in the placebo group elected
to receive 2 weeks of actual exposure after the initial 1-month
follow-up with 75% showing decreased headache activity (38% good, 38%
excellent). In conclusion, exposure of the inner thighs to pulsing
electromagnetic fields for at least 3 weeks is an effective, short-term
intervention for migraine, but not tension headaches.
Headache. 1999 Sep;39(8):567-75.
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Initial exploration of pulsing electromagnetic fields for treatment of migraine.
Sherman RA, Robson L, Marden LA.
Service of Orthopedic Surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash. 98431, USA.
Two studies were conducted during which 23 patients with chronic
migraine were exposed to pulsing electromagnetic fields over the inner
thigh. In an open study, 11 subjects kept a 2-week headache log before
and after 2 to 3 weeks of exposure to pulsing electromagnetic fields for
1 hour per day, 5 days per week. The number of headaches per week
decreased from 4.03 during the baseline period to 0.43 during the
initial 2-week follow-up period and to 0.14 during the extended
follow-up which averaged 8.1 months. In a double-blind study, 9 subjects
kept a 3-week log of headache activity and were randomly assigned to
receive 2 weeks of real or placebo pulsing electromagnetic field
exposures as described above. They were subsequently switched to 2 weeks
of the other mode, after which they kept a final 3-week log. Three
additional subjects in the blind study inadvertently received half-power
pulsing electromagnetic field exposures. The 6 subjects exposed to the
actual device first showed a change in headache activity from 3.32 per
week to 0.58 per week. The 3 subjects exposed to only half the dose
showed no change in headache activity. Large controlled studies should
be performed to determine whether this intervention is actually
Headache. 1998 Mar;38(3):208-13.
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The influence of the pineal gland on migraine and cluster headaches and effects of treatment with picoTesla magnetic fields.
NeuroCommunication Research Laboratory, Danburg, CT 06811.
For over half a century the generally accepted views on the
pathogenesis of migraine were based on the theories of Harold Wolff
implicating changes in cerebral vascular tone in the development of
migraine. Recent studies, which are based on Leao's concept of spreading
depression, favor primary neuronal injury with secondary involvement of
the cerebral circulation. In contrast to migraine, the pathogenesis of
cluster headache (CH) remains entirely elusive. Both migraine and CH are
cyclical disorders which are characterised by spontaneous exacerbations
and remissions, seasonal variability of symptoms, and a relationship to
a variety of environmental trigger factors. CH in particular has a
strong circadian and seasonal regularity. It is now well established
that the pineal gland is an adaptive organ which maintains and regulates
cerebral homeostasis by "fine tuning" biological rhythms through the
mediation of melatonin. Since migraine and CH reflect abnormal adaptive
responses to environmental influences resulting in heightened
neurovascular reactivity, I propose that the pineal gland is a critical
mediator in their pathogenesis. This novel hypothesis provides a
framework for future research and development of new therapeutic
modalities for these chronic headache syndromes. The successful
treatment of a patient with an acute migraine attack with external
magnetic fields, which acutely inhibit melatonin secretion in animals
and humans, attests to the importance of the pineal gland in the
pathogenesis of migraine headache.
Int J Neurosci. 1992 Nov-Dec;67(1-4):145-71.
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Effect of pulsating electromagnetic field therapy on cell volume and phagocytosis activity in multiple sclerosis and migraine.
Mix E, Jenssen HL, Lehmitz R, Lakner K, Hitzschke B, Richter M, Heydenreich A
Neurologische Abteilung, Universitat Rostock.
PEMF treatment was studied in 10 patients with multiple sclerosis and
10 patients with migraine. In both patients' groups a single treatment
induced a significant rise of yeast particle uptake by blood
granulocytes. The percentage of phagocytizing cells was increased in
migraine patients only. In both patients' groups 20 PEMF treatments
caused a reduction of particle uptake, whereas the percentage of
phagocytizing cells remained unchanged. In migraine patients the opsonic
capacity of serum and the mean cell volume of erythrocytes, lymphocytes
and granulocytes were initially reduced, but increased during the
course of 20 PEMF treatments. The biphasic changes of cell volume and
phagocytic activity are interpreted as a result of counter-regulation of
the organism in response to the primary PEMF effect.
Psychiatr Neurol Med Psychol (Leipz). 1990 Aug;42(8):457-66.
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Magnetic field associated with spreading depression: a model for the detection of migraine.
Okada YC, Lauritzen M, Nicholson C.
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, New York University Medical Center, NY 10016.
Slow variations of the magnetic field were recorded in real time
during spreading depression (SD) in the isolated turtle cerebellum. The
magnetic signal lasted for 2-10 min with the largest amplitude in the
first minute. The field strength was of sufficient magnitude to be
measured unaveraged at 2-4 cm from the tissue. The directions and time
course of the magnetic signal indicated that cerebellar SD is
accompanied by current normal to the cerebellar surface. The
observations reported here are of clinical interest due to the potential
involvement of SD in various neurological disorders, notably head
trauma and migraine.
Brain Res. 1988 Feb 23;442(1):185-90.
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Cerebral use of a pulsating magnetic field in neuropsychiatry patients with long-term headache.
A pulsed magnetic field (f = 260 Hz; t = 3 ms; induction B = 1.9 mT;
gradient = 0.5 mT/cm) was applied at 40 patients with headaches of
various etiology. The change of cephalea intensity was evaluated
according the patients statements. These statements were further
compared with the changes of the EEG. By means of frequency analysis of
the EEG significant changes in percentages of delta and alpha 1
activities (7.5-9.5/s) were stated after the application of the real
treatment regarding the sham treatment. Any treatment lasted one half
hour. The retreat of subjective difficulties as well as the amelioration
of EEG were stated accordingly at headaches, which were bounded with
cerebral arteriosclerosis, with states after cerebral concussion, with
depressive neurosis, or with tension headache. Pulsed magnetic field
could be applied only there, where the visual evaluation stated EEG as
EEG EMG Z Elektroenzephalogr Elektromyogr Verwandte Geb. 1985 Dec;16(4):227-30.
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