London, May 17 : A team of British researchers has developed a "brain stimulation" method that can be used at home to short-circuit migraines before they become disabling.
Professor Vince Walsh of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Queen Square has revealed that his system will soon be tested on migraine sufferers around the country.
A research team at Ohio State University recently showed that zapping the brain with a magnetic field, with the help of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) could abort attacks as they start to develop.
However, that effect could be achieved only if the coil was applied to precisely the right part of the brain.
Professor Walsh says that his brain stimulators called DC machines offer a simpler method to perform the same task.
"We need to get brain stimulation into the home - you can't nip off to see your neurologist when you know you're going to have a migraine," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Professor Walsh has revealed that his DC machine simply requires two electrodes, colour coded pink and yellow.
When the electrodes are put on a patient's head, the current passes between them, through the brain.
It promises to have long lasting results for up to 90 minutes, says Professor Walsh.
He even says that the same technique may help people cope with the aftermath of a stroke too.
Professor Walsh has revealed that recent trials have shown that his method is capable of improving speech and the ability to make arm and hand movements by making the brain more plastic, so that areas spared by the stroke are coopted to take over from those that have been damaged.
"Patients can be helped to learn to grip cutlery, turn water taps, pout things - simple everyday abilities they may have lost after a stroke. The method helps the brain find new solutions. There is a wholly convincing study of the benefits with stroke in a trial at the National Institutes of Health in America," he says.
He will make a presentation on his method at the end of the month at a major conference of 300 researchers from around the world in London.