health

Migraine sufferers could find relief with new headband from Belgium


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(NaturalNews) Data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that one in seven people across the globe suffer from severe and often debilitating headaches, frequently occurring behind the eyes and sometimes lasting for days.

A technology company based in southern Belgium has gone full force in attempting to create a device capable of eliminating, or at the very least, substantially decreasing, pain associated with migraines.

The device, called "Cefaly," is a battery-powered headband fitted with electrodes that's intended to be worn around the forehead, according to Yahoo.com.

Researchers say the device sends electrical currents to facial nerves, therefore counteracting pain associated with intense headaches. Currently available in Canada and recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March, Cefaly will be the only drug-free method for treating migraine pain and preventing the onset of migraine headaches.

TENS technology, or "transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation," has been under review for nearly 40 years and, according to researchers, is known for its safety and absence of side effects.

Developers say its lack of long-term side effects is what makes their product unique compared to other medications designed for treating headaches.

However, drug companies are always eager to release products and turn a profit rather than conduct long-term research in order to determine side effects.

Time is usually the best indicator of how safe a new medicine or medical device actually is.

Revolution of non-invasive treatments

The company leading this new development markets their product as being an "innovative, lightweight and extremely cost effective pain relieving solution."

"Its self adhesive electrode is placed directly on to the forehead..." and it is "[w]orn conveniently like a pair of eyeglasses." It then connects to the electrode and begins its subtle treatment.

While this product may certainly bring relief for many suffering from severe headaches and migraines, it appears similar to other 20th century medical treatments in that it masks the problem rather than fixes it.

Developers agree that it is not a cure but insist that it could stop the transition from "episodic" migraines to the more severe "chronic" category.

According to Agence France-Presse, "The WHO says that migraine is one of the top 20 causes of disability in terms of years of healthy life lost."

Cefaly Technology's managing director, Pierre Rigaux, says the expansion into the U.S. market is expected to increase sales by 25 percent over the next five years. "The device will hit the US market at a time when medical experts are putting more trust in non-pharmaceutical responses to migraines," reported Yahoo.com.

Small businesses specializing in the medical technology industry in Europe accounted for about 575,000 private sector employees in 2012. These employees stem from nearly 25,000 medical technology companies located in the EU.

"European companies like this one are at the forefront of innovation," said MedTech Europe's chief executive Serge Bernasconi.

Experts say FDA approval is key, especially when the U.S. accounts for 41 percent of the European medical technology export market, with China in second at just 10 percent and Japan in third, at 7 percent.

Steering away from drugs, more tech companies are looking at developing treatments focused on electrical stimulation to treat pathologies, such as insomnia and headaches.

Smaller medical-tech companies are able to flourish more easily in the EU because of its "highly decentralized regulatory system." This allows new technologies to be introduced in Europe years ahead of distribution in the U.S.

Cefaly technologies started out researching sports medicine and the use of electrodes to stimulate muscle. Founded in 2004 by a 58-year-old medical doctor and an engineer, the company began exploring the use of electrodes to externally stimulate nerves.

Rigaux acknowledges the enthusiasm toward using non-invasive treatments rather than prescription drugs and expects to see this type of technology soar, eventually reaching its way around the globe.

Additional sources:

http://www.cefaly.ca

http://news.yahoo.com

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