tACS Reduces Migraine Attack Burden in a Home Application

tACS sinewave

Low Intensity, Transcranial, Alternating Current Stimulation Reduces Migraine Attack Burden in a Home Application Set-Up: A Double-Blinded, Randomized Feasibility Study.

Background: Low intensity, high-frequency transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) applied over the motor cortex decreases the amplitude of motor evoked potentials. This double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group study aimed to test the efficacy of this method for acute management of migraines. Methods: The patients received either active (0.4 mA, 140 Hz) or sham stimulation for 15 min over the visual cortex with the number of terminated attacks two hours post-stimulation as the primary endpoint, as a home therapy option. They were advised to treat a maximum of five migraine attacks over the course of six weeks. Results: From forty patients, twenty-five completed the study, sixteen in the active and nine in the sham group with a total of 102 treated migraine attacks. The percentage of terminated migraine attacks not requiring acute rescue medication was significantly higher in the active (21.5%) than in the sham group (0%), and the perceived pain after active stimulation was significantly less for 2-4 h post-stimulation than after sham stimulation. Conclusion: tACS over the visual cortex has the potential to terminate migraine attacks. Nevertheless, the high drop-out rate due to compliance problems suggests that this method is impeded by its complexity and time-consuming setup.

PMID: 33233400 [PubMed]

Brain Sci. 2020 Nov 21;10(11):

Authors: Antal A, Bischoff R, Stephani C, Czesnik D, Klinker F, Timäus C, Chaieb L, Paulus M




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