A wireless arm patch that is controlled by a smartphone app might be the most fascinating new breakthrough in health technology. When a patient begins to experience a migraine, they can activate the patch, which uses rubber electrodes and a chip to produce electric impulses that block pain signals from reaching the brain. The patient can then control the intensity of the electric impulses through the app.
Dr. David Yarnitsky, the chair of neurology and lead researcher at Rambam Medical Center in Israel, explained: that “you can use skin stimulation at an intensity which is not painful and be able to stop or substantially diminish the development of a migraine attack, as long as you do it early enough in the migraine attack.”
Dr. Yarnitsky went on to discuss that other than a delicate tingle in your upper arm, there are no side effects when using the patch. It has already been tested on 71 migraine sufferers—and trial results were successful. Participants applied it to their upper arm soon after the start of a migraine, then used it for 20 minutes with no additional medication. Two hours later, results were recorded.
Of those who received the highest levels of stimulation, 64 percent experienced pain reduction of at least half.
In coming months, the patch will undergo further clinical study and, hopefully, FDA approval, which could make it available to the public within the next year.
Dr. Yarnitsky supports its future success, saying “people with migraines are looking for non-drug treatments, and this new device is easy to use and has no side effects.”
Photo: NEC Corporation of America, CC-BY
Elizabeth Chambers is a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia.