Scientist addresses forum on headaches

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A SCIENTIST whose pioneering work eases suffering for many people with migraine addressed the world’s biggest headache summit.

More than 1,000 health professionals heard Dr Tony Barker tell how research begun 30 years ago has led to relief from a condition that blights lives.

In January the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence approved the system he first developed - transcranial magnetic stimulation.

It works through a non-invasive device conveying a single brief pulse of magnetic energy to the back of the head. This creates a short electrical current in the brain, intended to stop or reduce the effects of migraine headaches.

The NICE guidance recommended that health authorities fund a TMS device, now available from the US company eNeura.

Dr Barker, from Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital, spoke in Copenhagen to experts including neurologists and physicians.

The European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress features the latest research, therapies and developments from recognised leaders.

In Europe, migraine alone costs the economy €27 billion each year in reduced productivity and work days lost.

This figure has risen to over €40 billion, with other headache disorders taken into account.

The conditions impose both a social and financial burden on many sufferers. Headaches, and often the constant fear of repeated attacks, damage family and social life.

The congress has been organised by the European Headache Federation and the leading British charity The Migraine Trust. Dr Barker said: “I am delighted TMS reduces suffering for people with migraine.”