Monday October 21, 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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Drinking Three or More Servings of Caffeinated Beverages a Day Increases Risk of Migraine

In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers evaluated the role of caffeinated beverages as a potential trigger of migraine

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Caffeinated, Beverages, Migraine
Drinking three or more servings of caffeinated beverages a day increases the risk of migraine. Pixabay

Coffee lovers, please take note. Drinking three or more servings of caffeinated beverages a day increases the risk of migraine.

In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers evaluated the role of caffeinated beverages as a potential trigger of migraine.

They found that, among patients who experience episodic migraine, one to two servings of caffeinated beverages were not associated with headaches on that day, but three or more servings of caffeinated beverages may be associated with higher odds of migraine headache occurrence on that day or the following day.

“While some potential triggers – such as lack of sleep – may only increase migraine risk, the role of caffeine is particularly complex, because it may trigger an attack but may also help control symptoms, caffeine’s impact depends both on dose and on frequency,” said Elizabeth Mostofsky from Harvard University.

Caffeinated, Beverages, Migraine
Coffee lovers, please take note. Pixabay

During the study, 98 adults with frequent episodic migraine completed electronic diaries every morning and every evening for at least six weeks.

Every day, participants reported the total servings of caffeinated coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks they consumed, as well as filled out twice daily headache reports detailing the onset, duration, intensity, and medications used for migraines since the previous diary entry.

Participants also provided detailed information about other common migraine triggers, including medication use, alcoholic beverage intake, activity levels, depressive symptoms, psychological stress, sleep patterns and menstrual cycles.

To evaluate the link between caffeinated beverage intake and migraine headache on the same day or on the following day, researchers used a self-matched analysis, comparing an individual participant’s incidence of migraines on days with caffeinated beverage intake to that same participant’s incidence of migraines on days with no caffeinated beverage intake.

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The researchers further matched headache incidence by days of the week, eliminating weekend versus week day habits that may also impact migraine occurrence.

Self-matching also allowed for the variations in caffeine dose across different types of beverages and preparations.

“One serving of caffeine is typically defined as eight ounces or one cup of caffeinated coffee, six ounces of tea, a 12-ounce can of soda and a 2-ounce can of an energy drink,” Mostofsky said.

“Those servings contain anywhere from 25 to 150 milligrams of caffeine, so we cannot quantify the amount of caffeine that is associated with heightened risk of migraine. However, in this self-matched analysis over only six weeks, each participant’s choice and preparation of caffeinated beverages should be fairly consistent,” Mostofsky added. (IANS)