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Spinal cord stimulators tested as treatment for patients with migraine headaches

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center are testing a new treatment for migraine headaches: occipital nerve stimulation, a surgical procedure in which an implanted neurostimulator delivers electrical impulses to nerves under the skin at the base of the head at the back of the neck.

This therapy may help migraine sufferers who do not respond to other available therapies, or who cannot tolerate the side effects of existing medications.

"The purpose of the randomized, double-blinded study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of occipital nerve stimulation as a treatment for refractory migraine headache," says Dr. Sandeep Amin, Rush study investigator and anesthesiologist who surgically implants the device in the two-visit operation.

Rush is recruiting patients through the Diamond Headache Clinic and is the only site in Illinois in the trial.

The study, known as PRISM (Precision Implantable Stimulator for Migraine), uses Boston Scientific's Precision neurostimulator with approximately 150 patients at up to 15 sites in the U.S. The implantable pulse generator will deliver electrical impulses to the occipital nerves located just under the skin at the base of the skull at the back of the neck.

The Precision device is the smallest rechargeable neurostimulator on the market today and is already approved by the FDA for spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic pain.

There are more than 28 million migraine sufferers in the U.S., and up to 10 percent of these patients may not respond to existing treatments.

"Occipital nerve stimulation has the potential to provide relief to the large population of migraine sufferers who currently have no other medical treatments available to them that bring them relief," said Amin. "If effective, the implantable neurostimulator would provide a new treatment option to free these patients from their long-standing headache pain."

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Contact: Mary Ann Schultz
Mary_Ann_Schultz@rush.edu
312-942-7816
Rush University Medical Center
27-Sep-2006


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