The use of solid-state, novel caloric vestibular stimulation (CVS) device can significantly reduce number of migraine days experienced by many adult migraineurs, according to a new double-blind, randomized study published in Headache.
The volunteers in the study had a long history of migraines. They experienced significant reduction in number of episodes in a month after using a caloric vestibular stimulation device.
CVS quickly activates all balance organs that are responsible for altering the activity in the areas of the brain, known as brainstem, mostly associated with the onset of migraine attacks.
Dr. David Walkinson, University of Kent’s School of Psychology, healped lead the double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The trial was carried out across the UK and US involving 82 volunteers with a history between five and 16 migraine attacks in a month.
All the volunteers used the CVS device to administer the caloric vestibular stimulation daily for 25 minutes over a period of four months. The thermal currents were successfully delivered using special aluminum earpieces gently seated within padded headphones, controlled and powered by hand-held device.
This approach demonstrated that the device reduced both headache pain as well as number of migraine days per month (the active treatment group experienced a reduction of 3.9 days compared to 0.7 days in the placebo group), and the consequent need for some migraine abortive prescription medications.
Dr. David Wilkinson said the results clearly indicated that vestibular stimulation may emerge as one of the new preventive therapies to address episodic migraine.
The findings of these studies were presented at the annual meeting of American Headache Society in June 2017, where it Professor Peter Goadsby (Chair of its Science Committee) observed that migraine patients now want non-drug options to handle their migraines, so developing the non-drug therapies like these could provide that.
A second, expanded study with CVS device will begin this summer involving another collaboration between the US medical device company Scion Neurostim (they produced the CVS delivery device) and the University of Kent. The company will not only fund the study, but also specialists headache centers and local GP surgeirs across the US and UK.