An exciting new study shows that some migraine patients may be able to cut down on medication – or stop using it completely – by using a newly developed inhaler that changes the composition of the air they breathe.
The eleven patients who participated in the pilot study suffer from migraine with aura, which is where they experience either sensory or visual disturbances before the painful headaches begin.
Over the course of the randomized double-blind study from 2016 to 2017, the patients self-treated 41 migraine attacks. The participants were instructed to use the device at the onset of first aura symptoms, followed after 40 minutes by a second use.
The research results show that the effect of the pain relief increased significantly with each use of the inhaler. After the first use, 45% of the patients experienced relief – and that number rose to 78% after the second use.
The only recorded side effects included such mild symptoms as perspiration and feeling slightly more cold or more warm.
The results were published in the scientific journal Cephalalgia.
Troels Johansen, one of the authors of the study from Aarhus University in Denmark, explains that migraines occur as part of a chain reaction during which the veins in the brain contract and the blood cannot therefore supply the brain with sufficient oxygen.
“We utilize CO2 and oxygen, which are the body’s natural molecules for mobilizing its own defense against migraine attacks. The inhaler expands the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen by up to 70% and thereby stops the destructive chain reaction,” says Johansen, adding that the effect of the treatment starts after a few seconds.
“The study shows some very significant physiological effects in the body,” says Johansen, who currently teaches at the Aarhus University School of Engineering. Together with a team of employees, he has put the inhaler into production through the company BalancAir.
Since the pilot project is limited to migraine with aura and was only comprised eleven patients, Johansen is now planning to conduct a large clinical trial that will also include migraine without aura and chronic migraine.
Cure Your Friends Of Negativity By Sharing The Good News – Representative photo by NIAID, CC