Headaches are upsettingly stubborn, and can be a difficult symptom to treat chronically. Nerve stimulator therapy has become an increasingly popular studied and used avenue for headache treatment. A new cross-over study out of UCSF and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London demonstrates the effectiveness of BION® Microstimulator device, a product of Boston Scientific (first reported by us back in 2005). The company says that the BION® Microstimulator is the world’s smallest implantable neuromodulator at approximately 28 mm in length and 3 mm in diameter. It is CE marked in Europe for urinary urge incontinence.
Anyways, back to the head. From the University of California press release:
The device, called a bion, is a rechargeable battery-powered electrode, similar in size to a matchstick. When implanted near the occipital nerve in the back of the neck, it alleviates pain by generating pulses that the nerve receives. The bion can be turned on or off via an external wireless remote control. Previous versions of the bion have been used in pain management for osteoarthritis and in the treatment of dislocated joints for patients recovering from stroke.
The study measured the effectiveness of nerve stimulation in six patients aged 37 to 64 with hemicrania continua, a rare headache disorder defined by the International Headache Society as a form of chronic daily headache in which patients have 15 days or more of headache per month.
…Researchers found that within a range of six to 21 months after implantation of the bion, five of the six patients reported sufficient benefit to recommend the device to other patients with hemicrania continua. Similar results were reported in 2007 by two other research teams studying patients with chronic cluster headaches.
At long-term follow-up, four of the six patients reported substantial pain improvement at a level of 80 to 95 percent, one patient saw a 30 percent improvement, and one patient reported that his pain worsened by 20 percent
Read the press release here…
Abstract: Treatment of hemicrania continua by occipital nerve stimulation with a bion device: long-term follow-up of a crossover study Lancet Neurology 2008; 7:1001-1012
Flashback: First ‘Bionic’ Electrode Implanted in UK
Headaches and neuromodulators flashbacks: A similar device and TMS, PFOs,and trephination.