For people who suffer from migraines, cluster headaches and other causes of chronic, excruciating head or facial pain, the "take two aspirins and call me in the morning" method is useless. Doctors have long associated the most severe, chronic forms of headache with the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG), a facial nerve bundle, but haven't yet found a treatment that works on the SPG long-term.
Well, there is technology for the rescue: The Electronic Aspirin.
It is a patient-powered tool for blocking SPG signals at the first sign of a headache.
It consists of two components. A nerve-stimulated implant is placed in the patient’s upper gum near the area where the patient experiences the most pain. The procedure to input the neuro-stimulator device is fairly simple and is conducted with minimal invasiveness and has minimal side effects.
The implant is attached to the Sphenopalantine Ganglion (SPG), a collection of nerves deep in the bone cavity of the mid-face area. The permanently embedded implant has a pointed tip which connects with the SPG bundle of nerves. When a patient senses the first sign of a headache, he/she the places a hand held remote device on the cheek area nearest the implant device. When the remote is pressed, a slight electrical charge stimulates nerve cells, which works to block the neurotransmitter signals causing pain.
The Central Nervous System (CNS) is composed of the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. The transmission mechanism that drives these communication pathways is separated into two types of signals, namely electrical signals for long pathways through neurons and chemical signals through short pathways between neurons. The shape and biology of neurons are well-adapted to generating, processing, and propagating these signals.
Neuro-stimulators are devices dedicated to eliciting action potentials in targeted neurons.
Different types of neuro-stimulators:
- The BION microstimulator
- An Ultrasound-Powered Neurostimulator
- CMOS-Circuit Neurostimulator
- Capacitor-Based Neurostimulators
- 16-Channel Neural Stimulator IC
When the remote is pressed the electrical signals from the neuro-stimulator effects the neuron of SPG, causing certain blocks in the nervous network. This stops the release of pain causing neuro-transmitters.
This process does not effect the other functions.The patient has complete control over the remote. Also, the implanted neuro-stimulator can be removed once the frequency and magnitude of migraine attack reduces.
Possible Side effects:
While there is no threatening risk attached to the use of electronic aspirin, some of the reported symptoms include lower blood pressure, throat numbness, or nausea. However, in rare cases, the symptoms can be a nasal infection, nasal bleeding and a slight increase in headache.
Nonetheless, electronic aspirin is an effective solution to facial and head pains. It helps the sufferers to improve their lifestyle and this small invention can help millions in the incorporation of medicine into innovative technology.