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HeadWay, Issue #167 -- Will It Be Possible to Electrically "Switch Off" A Migraine?
July 20, 2018
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In this issue:
"Switching Off" Migraine?
Coming: Anniversary Give Aways!
Say what?! Polarization
You can still get the cutting-edge Migraine World Summit library - check out the details here! For those of you who already own it or who watched it live, I hope we'll have more time to talk about some of the things we've discovered.
"Switching Off" Migraine?Could we flip an electrical "switch" and "turn off" migraine?
You probably know that your body is constantly sending electrical signals. In fact, without electricity, not only would you not be feeling pain, you wouldn't be feeling anything - or doing anything. That's why you don't want to "fry the system" by getting hit by lightening.
Your brain is extremely "wired", though we're still talking about a very small amount of electricity (you won't be powering your cell phone with brain power any time soon).
A huge part of the migraine chain reaction is something very electrical - commonly called a cortical spreading depression or depolarization. This is an "electrical storm" that spreads across your brain. As it spreads, it may cause strange symptoms such as those visual auras - flashing lights or zig zags, for example.
Lots of "electrical solutions" to migraine are popping up these days. Take for example the Cefaly device, which sends a signal to a certain nerve.
But a recent international study has suggested that it might be possible to actually "switch off" the spreading depression. In fact, that's basically what researchers were able to do - stop the spreading depression using an electrical charge in brain tissue.
Here's a fascinating detail. Seizures are also related to changes in electrical currents in the brain. But the polarity for seizures is the opposite of that for migraine.
So could we actually switch off a migraine attack? Well, migraine attacks are complex. However, there do seem to be some real possibilities for a partial solution at least. But intervening is not enough - we need to make it so that migraineurs are not suceptible to attacks in the first place.
Similar treatments are already being investigated, such as tDCS.
For more on this study, see Your brain with a migraine: Effect of electric currents, or read the full study here.
Note: I know that this issue was a little more on the "theoretical" side than normal. But it's important for us to start understanding this side of things so that we can intelligently discuss upcoming new migraine-fighting technologies.
Coming: Anniversary Give Aways!Confession: I love to have excuses to give away free stuff. And a perfect one is coming up!
HeadWay is about to celebrate 15 years, next month!
Thanks so much to all of you who have been a part of fighting back against migraine and headaches during those years. You've sent me ideas, sent me stories of your struggles as well as stories of your successes and improved health, and we've learned together!
So stay tuned for details in August, as we have fun celebrating together. :)
Say what?! PolarizationYou probably know that generally polarization refers to the separation of opposites. In electricity, polarization occurs when you separation different charges within something. So depolarization is a decrease in those differences.
These changes affect how messages are sent in the brain, such as making it more sensitive (likely to send certain messages, for example) or less sensitive.
Thanks for reading! Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom. Your password is nomoache.
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