Medical Cure?

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Posted by Cory ( on May 20, 2001 at 15:35:56:

This was printed in the Natinal Post a Canadian newspaper. It doesn't seem to be a cure to me since when they stopped the use the attacks came back for the gentleman, but it is a step forward. BTW a new cycle started for me a week and half ago. I'm on verapamil 400 mg per day and imitrex nasal injectors (this is my 4th cycle in 3 years and I have only been pain free since November).
My cycles are normally precipitated with insomnia (not this time though) but I did have a migraine for 3 days just before the cycle started for what it's worth.

May 12, 2001

Electrical jolts in brain cure man of disabling pain
Headaches disappear

Michael Smith
National Post
PHILADELPHIA - Talk about wired -- three volts of electricity deep in the brain has cured an Italian man of crippling cluster headaches, researchers say.

For almost a year, the man -- who had been disabled by excruciating headache pain as often as six times a day -- has been completely pain-free, neurologist Massimo Leone of Carlo Besta National Neurologic Institute in Milan told the American Academy of Neurology.

Surgeons opened the man's skull, implanted a wire in the region called the hypothalamus and ran it under his scalp and down to an electrical stimulator embedded under the collarbone, Leone said. Within 48 hours, the headaches stopped.

When the researchers twice turned the stimulator off, without the man's knowledge, the headaches returned, only to cease again when the machine was turned back on, Dr. Leone said.

"His life has changed completely," he said.

Dr. Leone said the man, a heavy-equipment operator, had been unable to work for four years because of the headaches, which gave him blinding pain "two, four, six times every day and night."

The headaches did not respond to any of the drugs usually used, nor did standard surgery succeed in stopping them, he said.

Cluster headaches are the rarest form of recurring headache, according to the American Headache Society. They often occur daily or almost daily and are "possibly the worst pain a man can suffer," Leone said.

Neurosurgeon Chris Janson, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, said the apparent success of the procedure is likely to excite medical interest, especially among neurosurgeons who work with what is called deep brain stimulation.

Deep brain stimulation, in which an electrode is implanted in the brain, is used to treat movement disorders, including some forms of Parkinson's disease.

Neurosurgeon Giovanni Broggi, part of the research team, said two other patients have since had the operation, with equal success. But Dr. Broggi said it is a "last resort at the moment" since many cluster headache patients respond to drugs or other treatment.

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