Research

Migraine Treatment Centers of America Partner Physicians have long been advocates of advancing medicine. They have contributed to this cause by conducting clinical trials and research throughout their careers.

Related to the Omega Migraine Procedure, recent research earned the honor of the Cephalalgia Award given by the editors of the journal Cephalalgia, which is the journal of the International Headache Society.

In fact, numerous research studies have been conducted in relation to the use of neurostimulation to treat headaches.  Below are some examples.

Safety and efficacy of peripheral nerve stimulation of the occipital nerves for the management of chronic migraine: Results from a randomized, multicenter, double-blinded, controlled study

Stephen D Silberstein, David W Dodick, Joel Saper, Billy Huh, Konstantin V Slavin, Ashwini Sharan, Ken Reed, Samer Narouze, Alon Mogilner, Jerome Goldstein, Terrence Trentman, Julien Vaisma, Joseph Ordia, Peter Weber, Timothy Deer, Robert Levy, Roni L Diaz, Stephanie N Washburn and Nagy Mekhail
This study followed 157 participants who suffered from a headache on average 21 days per month. After 12 weeks, the patients receiving PNS therapy reported that their headaches had reduced to an average of 6 or fewer per month. In addition, the participants reported a 43% reduction in pain as noted by the MIDAS questionnaire, and a 42% average improvement in pain relief. More than half of the participants ranked their relief as good or excellent.
Read a press release summary of the article: St. Jude Medical’s Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Study Confirms Benefit for Chronic Migraine Patients

Advances and Challenges in Neurostimulation for Headaches

D. Magis and J. Schoenen
This paper reviews studies that have been performed on approximately 1200 individuals who suffer from headaches and are resistant or are not able to tolerate available migraine drugs. Of the treatments studied, peripheral nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation of the hypothalmus has seemed to be effective in people with chronic cluster headache. In addition, occipital nerve stimulation seems to have promise for treating chronic migraine.
Read the abstract: Advances and Challenges in Neurostimulation for Headaches

Medically Refractory Headache: Treatment with Peripheral Neurostimulation (PNS)

Erich O. Richter, MD, Kenneth M. Alo, MD, Marina V. Abramova, MD
Numerous clinical research studies have shown that neurostimulation can be used to reduce headache pain. This paper summarizes previous research by stating that peripheral neurostimulation (PNS) seems to be safe, effective and well tolerated. The paper also clarifies approaches through which neurostimulation may have a positive effect. For example, applying neurostimulation to both the occipital and trigeminal nerve systems has been reported to have a success rate above 90% for individuals with intractable head-wide pain. Patients with pain in the rear of the head, treated with occipital neurostimulation, average an improvement of 88%. The paper further explains ideal PNS candidate traits, and potential minor complications.
Read the full article: Medically Refractory Headache: Treatment with Peripheral Neurostimulation

Painful Peripheral Neuropathy: Many Types, Causes, and Treatments – Including Neuromodulation

Kenneth Alo, MD
Painful peripheral neuropathy is a common neurological disorder characterized by numbness, weakness, tingling and pain, often starting in the hands or feet. This paper provides symptoms, causes, and types. It also addresses treatment. In cases where medications are not effective or have intolerable side effects, spinal cord stimulation or peripheral nerve stimulation can provide a solution. For qualified patients, peripheral nerve stimulators can have up to a 90% near term success rate.
Read the paper: Painful Peripheral Neuropathy: Many Types, Causes, and Treatments – Including Neuromodulation

Neuropathy: A Source of Pain That Arises From Many Causes

Kenneth Alo, MD
This paper summarizes neuropathic pain symptoms, causes and treatments in very user-friendly language. Neuropathic pain, which does not have an obvious cause and can also create a stabbing, burning, freezing or numb sensation, is now considered more common than previously thought. One treatment for neuropathic pain, including trigeminal neuralgia, includes spinal cord stimulation or peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS). For appropriately screened patients, such peripheral nerve stimulation can have a 80% to 90% near-term success rate.
Read the paper: A Source of Pain That Arises From Many Causes

Successful Treatment of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Chronic Pain with Spinal Cord Stimulation: A Case Study

Ioannis M. Skaribas, MD, DABA, Stephanie N. Washburn, PhD
This case study involved a 37-year-old man diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease with pain of more than 20 years. He was implanted with an SCS device and patient pain and quality of life was assessed one and six months later. Results showed that SCS was effective in decreasing pain, improving quality of life and reducing medication consumption at both one and six months post-implant. In addition, the patient was satisfied with SCS treatment.
Read the full article: Successful Treatment of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Chronic Pain with Spinal Cord Stimulation: A Case Study

Ultrasound Imaging and Occipital Nerve Stimulation

Ioannis Skaribas, MD, Kenneth Alo, MD
This case study follows six patients diagnosed with refractory chronic daily headaches and occipital neuralgia who did not find relief through extensive medical management. The patients underwent successful percutaneous trials of bilateral octopolar occipital nerve stimulation under ultrasound guidance, followed by permanent surgical implantation. In this case series, ultrasonography provided real-time, safe, and reliable placement of ONS electrodes, providing an attractive emerging technology in the field of Neuromodulation.
Read the full article: Ultrasound Imaging and Occipital Nerve Stimulation

Central Neuromodulation in Chronic Migraine Patients with Suboccipital Stimulators: a PET Study

Manjit S. Matharu, Thorsten Bartsch, Nick Ward, Richard S.J. Frackowiak, Richard Weiner and Peter J. Goadsby
This study follows eight patients with chronic migraine who had a positive response to implanted bilateral suboccipital stimulators. The researchers turned the stimulators on, which immediately began to treat the headache and removed the pain within 30 minutes; they then turned the stimulators off, which brought the pain back; and then turned them on partially, which partially treated the pain. At each stage, they used a PET scan to determine neuronal activity, which allowed them to identify the role of the dorsal rostral pons in chronic migraine occurence, similar to that of episodic migraine.
Read the full article: Central Neuromodulation in Chronic Migraine Patients with Suboccipital Stimulators: a PET Study

Occipital Neurostimulation for Treatment of Intractable Headache Syndromes

Richard L. Weiner, MD, Kenneth M. Alo, MD
This book chapter reviews the characteristics of several types of headaches, and details the use of neurostimulation to treat them. The authors conclude that between 1993 and 2005, 150 patients with the neurostimulator implantation showed approximately 70% to 100% success in short-term follow-ups.  Long-term follow-ups showed 75% good/excellent long-term pain relief, plus 15% with fair response.
Read the book chapter: Occipital Neurostimulation for Treatment of Intractable Headache Syndromes

Peripheral Neurostimulation for Control of Intractable Occipital Neuralgia

Richard L. Weiner, MD, FACS, Kenneth L. Reed, MD
In this study, 13 patients underwent 17 implant procedures for medically refractory occipital neuralgia. With follow-up ranging from 1.5 to 6 years, 12 patients continute to report good-to-excellent response, with greater than 50% pain control and requiring little or no additional medications. The study authors concluded that patients with medically intractable occipital neuralgia, peripheral nerve electrostimulation subcutaneousy at the level of C1 appears to be a reasonable alternative to more invasive surgical porceures, following the failure of more conservative therapies.
Read the full article: Peripheral Neurostimulation for Control of Intractable Occipital Neuralgia