Wednesday December 11, 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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Here’s How Cannabis Can Help You Reduce Migraine Pain by Nearly Half

However, a study did see patients using larger doses of cannabis over time, indicting they may be developing tolerance to the drug

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Migraine
A number of people say they use cannabis for headache and Migraine, but surprisingly few studies had addressed the topic. Pixabay

Cannabis has benefits when it comes to relieving a stressful headache or Migraine, researchers have found.

Since cannabis is made up of over 100 cannabinoids, this finding suggests that different cannabinoids or other constituents like terpenes may play the central role in headache and migraine relief.

Inhaled cannabis reduces self-reported headache severity by 47.3 per cent and migraine severity by 49.6 per cent, said the study.

“We were motivated to do this study because a substantial number of people say they use cannabis for headache and migraine, but surprisingly few studies had addressed the topic,” said study lead author Carrie Cuttler, Assistant Professor at Washington State University in the US.

For the study, published in the Journal of Pain, the researchers analysed archival data from the Strainprint app, which allows patients to track symptoms before and after using medical cannabis purchased from Canadian producers and distributors.

The information was submitted by more than 1,300 patients who used the app over 12,200 times to track changes in headache from before to after cannabis use, and another 653 who used the app more than 7,400 times to track changes in migraine severity.

During the research, the research team saw no evidence that cannabis caused “overuse headache,” a pitfall of more conventional treatments which can make patients’ headaches worse over time.

Migraine
Cannabis has benefits when it comes to relieving a stressful headache or Migraine, researchers have found. Pixabay

However, they did see patients using larger doses of cannabis over time, indicting they may be developing tolerance to the drug.

The study found a small gender difference with significantly more sessions involving headache reduction reported by men (90.0 per cent) than by women (89.1 per cent).

The researchers also noted that cannabis concentrates, such as cannabis oil, produced a larger reduction in headache severity ratings than cannabis flower.

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The researchers acknowledge the limitations of the Strainprint study since it relies on a self-selected group of people who may already anticipate that cannabis will work to alleviate their symptoms, and it was not possible to employ a placebo control group. (IANS)