Migraine Research Studies Making News: Devices, Surgeries and Inriguing Links

Migraine Research Studies Making News and You


In my last article, I discussed medication research studies that are making the news lately. There is a lot of migraine research studies making news these days. In this article, I will discuss four devices (three of which are available now), three surgeries and three intriguing links to migraine that are making researchers stand up and take notice.


Cefaly ACUTE, Cefaly DUAL, and Cefaly PREVENT

CefalyThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cefaly ACUTE device is now available This device, worn on the forehead, is an electronic trigeminal nerve stimulator (eTNS) used in the acute treatment of migraine headache attacks. The Cefaly DUAL can be used both to treat acute attacks and to prevent migraine, without any of the unwanted side effects of many medications. Cefaly also has Cefaly PREVENT, which offers a dedicated preventive treatment.

These devices stimulate the upper branch of the trigeminal nerve through electronic pulses. In acute treatment, the Cefaly device is worn at the onset of symptoms for a 1-hour session. The Cefaly DUAL also has a mode used to prevent migraine, and is worn for a period of 20-minutes per day.

CEFALY Technology is a Belgium based company with it’s US headquarters located in Wilton, CT. CEFALY Technology specializes in electronic medical devices, particularly for the treatment of migraine. While both devices are available in the US, they do require a prescription from a doctor or other migraine specialist.

CLICK HERE for more information on Cefaly.

Nerivio Migra 1

The Nerivio Migra 1 is a device that has a patch the size of a credit card worn on the upper arm that emits an electronic charge. The patch contains electrodes, a battery, and a computer chip. The strength of the electronic charge is controlled using an app on your smartphone.

The Technion-Isreal Institute in Haifa studied 70 patients using the Nerivio Migra 1 armband. It was applied in the first minutes of a migraine headache attack. The theory is that the pain signals are blocked by the electronic sensations in the arm. This is known as a conditioned pain response.

This study reported a 64% reduction in pain over a period of two hours. A new study will be done involving 270 patients in the US and Israel.

Percutaneous Closure of the Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Surgeries to End MigraineIn a study of 230 patients, who had the Percutaneous Foramen Ovale of their brain closed using the AMPLATZER PFO Occluder device, the surgery, performed at St Jude Medical, had a 0% association with the decrease of migraine headache attacks. The PFO closure is just one surgery being looked at for the treatment of migraine headaches. In my opinion, brain surgery of any sort should be a last resort to treating migraine. There is so very much that is not known about the brain.

Decompression of the Nerves in the Face and Neck

A study of 90 patients at Massachusetts General hospital noted a “drastic improvement” in the frequency and severity of migraine headache attacks after facelift-like surgery to decompress the nerves in the face and neck., a minimally invasive surgical technique.

The study, performed in 2015, used the Pain Self Efficacy Questionnaire (PSEQ) to study patients over a period of a year. After that year, patients had better PSEQ scores with an increase of 112% over their previous scores. Patients noted a 76% improvement in their migraine headaches.

Hairplug Surgery

If you suffer from hair loss and also have migraine headaches, you may want to consider hairplug surgery. In a very small study of 6 patients conducted at SO-EP Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Center in Turkey, 100% of patients were migraine headache free after hairplug surgery!

Lead researcher, Dr Sofvet Ors published these findings in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. Just why patients were migraine free is yet unknown. You can be that this is something that you will see more research being done on.

Intriguing Links to Migraine

Links to Acts of Terror

According to a study in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, patients who were exposed to acts of terror suffered an increase in migraine and chronic migraine as compared to those who had not suffered through such attacks.


Researchers studying 330 patients from Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Turkey found that yawning may be the first symptom of a migraine headache attack. According to results published in the journal, Headache: Head and Face Pain, 84% of participants were noted to have yawning just before a migraine headache attack. The role that is played by increased levels of dopamine may be the cause.


According to a study conducted at the University of Bergen in Norway, patients who have diabetes seem to be protected from the effects of migraine headache. The link, first theorized in 1970, was published on the New Scientist website stated that it is unclear whether it is the disease itself, the drugs used to combat the disease or a combination of both that accounts for these finding within the diabetic population. More studies are going to be necessary to determine this.


The Wrap Up

Whether you are interested in one of the Cefaly devices as a drug-free option, if you are interested in a surgical option, or if you would be interested in participating in a research study, there are a lot of options out there to discuss with your doctor or migraine headache specialist. Your headache professional should be able to sit down and discuss migraine research studies making news with you and be able to steer you towards those being conducted in your area.

As always, I am interested in your thoughts, feelings, questions, and experiences.

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