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Tormenting headache: How the smartphone can help against migraines


New smartphone-based treatment for migraines

Treating a migraine is often difficult. In order to achieve relief, interdisciplinary measures from drug procedures, sporting exercises, relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy are often required. Doctors are now presenting a new form of treatment for migraines, in which your own smartphone plays a central role. In the ambitious project, an app should document headaches, identify triggers, support the implementation of relaxation exercises and endurance sports, and include specialist forums and specialist chats.

Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, is developing the new smartphone app "M-sense" with its partners in the "SMARTGEM" project. In the future, this should actively support migraine patients in order to reduce the frequency of attacks. This offers a new opportunity for 15 to 25 percent of all women and six to eight percent of all men who suffer from migraines. Since many different approaches have to be taken into account when treating a migraine, according to the doctors, an app can do good support work here. Competent medical support can also be guaranteed for people who do not live in large cities and do not have good connections to various specialists.

Location-independent, effective and time-saving

"With SMARTGEM, we want to investigate the effectiveness of a location-independent, effective and also time-saving form of therapy for migraines," reports project manager Dr. Lars Neeb from the Department of Neurology at the Charité Mitte campus in a press release on the project. For the patients, the doctors hope to significantly reduce the number of attacks and the consumption of painkillers. The aim is to improve the quality of life of the patients and to prevent the chronification of the disease.

What should the new app do?

"With the" M-sense "smartphone app, patients can document their headaches," the experts explain. Thereby, therapy can be monitored and possible triggers for migraine attacks identified. In addition, the app includes a therapy module, which supports the implementation of relaxation procedures for stress relief and endurance sports. In addition, patients can be individually trained in behavioral therapy approaches using "M-sense".

Specialist connection included

The app can also serve as a good source of information for general practitioners. With the help of "M-sense", they can network with experts in neurology and thus advise themselves on possible treatment methods for their patients. Physically moderated forums and expert chats are to be offered to the patient in order to shorten communication with specialists.

Documentation, therapy module and self-help training

As the doctors report, the app is a combination of documentation, therapy module and self-help training. Furthermore, telemedical advice and medically moderated forums and expert chats are offered. The project is funded with more than three million euros. Since access to medical headache experts and psychotherapists specializing in pain is limited in both urban and rural areas, the app is intended to remedy this.

Supported by health insurance companies

Various health insurance companies such as the AOK Nordost, the BKK VBU, the IKK healthy plus and the BIG direct healthy support the innovative care project. In addition to improving the quality of life, the ability of migraine patients to work should also be improved.

Nationwide supply in prospect

The effectiveness of the new form of care is currently being investigated in a controlled study with 1,200 patients from Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt. The subjects had to suffer from migraines for more than five days a month. "If successful, SMARTGEM serves as a model for nationwide care for migraine patients," said Dr. Neeb.

About migraines and what you can do yourself

Migraines are a common disease that can disqualify them. In addition to throbbing, pounding and one-sided headaches, there are often additional complaints such as nausea and vomiting, dizziness and loss of appetite. Many migraineurs are also very sensitive to noise and light. In many cases, the disease is treated with medication. However, there are also a variety of natural migraine methods and home remedies that can help. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: Migraine 101: A 3-Step Guide to Managing Headaches (August 2020).