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New options for headaches: smartphone therapy for migraines


New project for migraine therapy: smartphone-based treatment

Around 15 to 25 percent of all women and around six to eight percent of men worldwide suffer from migraines. Those affected can literally be put out of action by the disease. A project is now starting in Berlin to improve the treatment of migraine sufferers.

Every tenth German affected

According to experts, almost one in ten Germans suffers from migraines. Throbbing, pounding and one-sided headaches are typical. Other complaints such as nausea and vomiting, dizziness and loss of appetite are often added. In addition, many of those affected are sensitive to noise and light. The complaints are often treated with medication. But sometimes natural methods can help. A project is now underway in Berlin to improve the treatment of migraine sufferers.

Offer patients an effective and location-independent form of treatment

The Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, together with its partners, is launching a project on smartphone-supported migraine therapy (SMARTGEM).

As stated in a message, the goal is to offer patients with frequent migraine attacks an effective and location-independent treatment.

According to the information, the app is a combination of documentation, therapy module and training for self-help. In addition, telemedical advice as well as medically moderated forums and expert chats are offered.

The project, led by the Charité consortium, is being carried out in cooperation with the Department of Neurology at the University Medical Center Rostock, the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital Halle (Saale), the Institute for Public Health at the Charité, the app developer Newsenselab and the health insurance companies AOK Nordost, BKK VBU , IKK healthy plus and the BIG carried out directly healthy.

Drug and non-drug treatments

According to the communication, around 15 to 25 percent of all women and around six to eight percent of men worldwide suffer from migraines.

The pain disorder often leads to a severe reduction in the quality of life and also the ability to work.

There are various factors (triggers) that can trigger migraines. It is known that sudden stress, hormonal changes, pronounced emotions or overexertion and exhaustion can lead to the symptoms. The weather can also have an impact.

Medicinal and non-medicinal methods are currently used to reduce the frequency of attacks.

Experts often advise those affected not to take medication too quickly. Because migraine painkillers taken in the long term lead to more seizures.

Many patients can manage their symptoms well with home remedies for migraines anyway.

Among other things, it is recommended to withdraw into a quiet, darkened room in the event of pain attacks in order to shield yourself from external stimuli.

Gentle massages with peppermint oil on the temples and forehead can also help. A cooling cloth on the forehead can also provide relief.

Improve patients' quality of life

According to the Charité Communication, access to medical headache experts and specialized pain therapists is limited for urban and especially rural patients.

"With SMARTGEM we want to investigate the effectiveness of a location-independent, effective and also time-saving form of therapy for migraines," explains project manager Dr. Lars Neeb from the Department of Neurology at the Charité Mitte campus.

"For the patients, we hope for a significant reduction in attacks and pain medication consumption. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of patients and to prevent the chronification of the disease, ”said the expert.

Using the M-sense smartphone app, those affected can document their headaches so that the therapy can be monitored and possible triggers for the migraine attacks identified.

The integrated therapy module supports the patients in the implementation of relaxation procedures and endurance sports and trains them in individual behavioral therapy approaches.

In addition, the treating private doctors can network with the neurologists of the university headache centers via telemedicine and advise themselves on the treatment of their patients.

For those affected themselves, medically moderated forums and expert chats are offered in order to shorten communication with the doctor.

Study with 1,200 patients

According to the information, the effectiveness of the new form of care is examined in a controlled study with 1,200 patients from Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt.

The subjects must suffer from migraines more than five days a month and have to present themselves for the first time in the headache outpatient clinic of the Charité, the University Medical Center Rostock or the University Clinic Halle (Saale).

600 study participants are provided with the new app, the comparison group receives the app for pure headache documentation without access to the extended functions.

“If successful, SMARTGEM serves as a model for the nationwide care of migraine patients. This is particularly true in structurally weak regions, ”says Dr. Neeb about the future of the project. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: New migraine prevention drugs: Mayo Clinic Radio (August 2020).