Tuesday June 25, 2019

Researchers Develop Smartphone App to Reduce Migraine

PMR therapy utilising the RELAXaHEAD app dropped to 51 per cent after six weeks, and to 29 per cent after three months, said the researchers

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Researchers have developed a smartphone-based relaxation technique which reduces headache in people who are suffering from migraine.

The RELAXaHEAD app guides patients through progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) — a type of behavioural therapy in which patients alternately relax and tense different muscle groups to reduce stress.

The study, published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine, evaluated the clinical effectiveness of an app for treating migraine and adding an app to standard therapies such as oral medications under the supervision of a doctor.

“Our study offers evidence that patients may pursue behavioural therapy if it is easily accessible, they can do it on their own time and it is affordable,” said Mia Minen, Assistant Professor at the New York University.

“Clinicians need to rethink their treatment approach to migraine because many of the accepted therapies, although proven to be the current, best course of treatment, aren’t working for all lifestyles,” Minen said.

Migraine
Migraine is a risk factor for sudden sensorineural hearing loss — characterized by rapid loss of hearing in one or both ears, which may occur immediately or over the course of several days. Pixabay

To see if an app might increase compliance, the research team analysed app use by 51 migraine patients, all of whom owned smartphones.

For the study, participants were asked to use the app for 90 days and to keep a daily record of the frequency and severity of their headaches, while the app kept track of how long and often patients used PMR.

During the research, on average, participants had 13 headache days per month. Thirty-nine per cent of the patients also reported having anxiety and 30 per cent had depression.

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PMR therapy utilising the RELAXaHEAD app dropped to 51 per cent after six weeks, and to 29 per cent after three months, said the researchers.

“The study results suggest that accessible smartphone technologies can effectively teach patients lifelong skills needed to manage their migraines,” Minen said. (IANS)

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New Smartphone App Helps Improve Pain Control after Surgery

Patients feed their pain level (no pain, bearable pain, unbearable pain, or untenable pain) in the app

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Smartphone, App, Pain Contol
Few clinically-tested mobile apps exist with clear measurable goals to guide patients in pain control. Pixabay

A smartphone app called “PainCoach” helps improve pain control and reduce opiate pain-killer use in patients who have undergone total knee replacement surgeries, says a study.

Patients feed their pain level (no pain, bearable pain, unbearable pain, or untenable pain) in the app and based on that and the days post-surgery, it offers advice on drug pain relief use and exercises or rest.

Study participants who used the app experienced lower pain scores and felt lesser dependency on opioids, the findings showed.

“These are important findings given the current demand on the healthcare system and the growing misuse of prescription painkillers worldwide”, said Amar Sheombar, a researcher of Indian origin, from Kliniek ViaSana in the Netherlands.

Smartphone, App, Pain Contol
A smartphone app called “PainCoach” helps improve pain control. Pixabay

“Few clinically-tested mobile apps exist with clear measurable goals to guide patients in pain control and opiate use at home after surgery,” Sheombar said.

To study the effect of PainCoach app on pain and opiate use, the researchers randomly assigned 71 patients aged 56-70 years undergoing total knee replacement.

While 38 of the assigned patients relied on both — the app as well as the usual post-surgery care, 33 patients depended only on pain killers during the first two weeks at home post-surgery.

Compared with the control group, users of the PainCoach app used 23 per cent less opiates and 15 per cent more paracetamol in the first two weeks following surgery.

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Regular app users reported four times faster reduction in pain during activity, six times faster reduction in pain at night, and 44 per cent less opiate and 76 per cent less gabapentin use, said the study.

“That 80 per cent of interactive advice is remembered may explain why regular use of the PainCoach app contributes to lower pain scores and reduced opiate use”, said Sheombar.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Anaesthesiology in Austria. (IANS)