• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 11s

New medical device helps alleviate chronic migraines

By Lori Tipton 3:44 PM December 12, 2013

"Nerve pacemaker" allows people to monitor their pain

ANCHORAGE – Thirty-six million Americans suffer from migraine headaches . If you’ve ever had one, you know how debilitating they can be. Now, a new device that fits in the palm of your hand can take away the pain.

Megan Doscher has long suffered from chronic migraines, sometimes experiencing two a day.

“It feels like somebody was in my head with drums,” Doscher said.

She recently underwent surgery to receive an occipital nerve stimulator — it’s essentially a nerve packmaker.

Dr. Brian Snyder, a neurosurgeon, implanted two electrodes at the base of Megan’s skull, near the occipital nerve. Wires are placed on either side of the skull.

Those wires attach to a pacemaker just under the skin in Megan’s chest. She uses a remote-controlled device that can increase or decrease the amount of electrical impulses being sent to the nerves in her brain. The more pain, the higher the electrical impulses.

“I just stick it in my purse and I carry it around with me everywhere I go,” Doscher said.

Since receiving the occipital nerve stimulator, Megan has one migraine every two weeks.

“I’m able to have a life now,” she said.

The main risks of the surgery are bleeding, infection and hardware-related minor complications, Snyder said. The surgery is done in two parts — trial and permanent — so the patients who don’t benefit from the trial don’t have the surgery to implant the device.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Suspected Alaska measles case comes back negative

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 28, 11:55

    Health officials confirmed Wednesday that a suspected measles case in Alaska was a false alarm. Earlier this month, an Anchorage infant tested positive for the virus. Her parents say they hadn’t been to Disneyland — where the outbreak is believed to have originated — but they had recently returned from a family trip to San Diego. […]

  • DayBreak

    On the couch with vlogger Cory Williams, Jan. 28

    by Daybreak Staff on Jan 28, 11:30

    The long-abandoned Buckner Building in Whittier was the scene of vlogger Cory Williams’ latest Alaskan adventure. His drone, better known as the HELLA-COPTER, recorded some stunning aerial views of “the city under one roof.” Wednesday morning, Williams shared that video with James and Megan on Daybreak. “That place is probably the creepiest place I have […]

  • News

    North Pole man hospitalized with life-threatening gunshot wound

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 28, 11:01

    A North Pole man was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Tuesday night for a life-threatening gunshot wound, troopers say. At 11:12 a.m., Alaska State Troopers received word of a potential gunshot victim at a Horseshoe Way home in North Pole. According to the 911 call, a gunshot and screaming were heard. First responders found Dallas […]

  • News

    Delta adds seasonal, year-round Alaska routes

    by Associated Press on Jan 28, 10:47

    Delta Air Lines will extend year-round service from both Juneau and Fairbanks to Seattle. KTOO reports (http://is.gd/kavsQk) Delta will also add summer flights from Seattle to Ketchikan and Sitka, and those routes will be evaluated at the end of the summer. The new Juneau-to-Seattle service will start in May, and comes after airline officials say […]

  • Sports

    GoPro introduced in professional hockey

    by Jake Edmonds on Jan 28, 10:43

    GoPro, the fastest-growing camera brand in America, and the NHL have teamed up to provide TV viewers a unique experience. The partnership will allow the NHL to mount GoPro cameras on the helmets of players and officials, according to a statement made on Friday. Nowadays, everyone can channel his or her inner Steven Spielberg with […]

  • News

    Feds reject petition for Aleutians marine sanctuary

    by Associated Press on Jan 28, 8:25

    The federal government has rejected a petition to create a new marine sanctuary in the Aleutian Islands. In a letter dated Friday, the director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Director wrote that the petition did not receive support from “a breadth of community interests.” The Aleutians East Borough and other local groups opposed […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Jan. 28

    by Brett Shepard on Jan 28, 8:17

    Mostly to partly cloudy skies today in Southcentral with temperatures beginning to warm up slightly. In the Southeast it will be a wet day with rain for most of the region. In the Interior it will be bitterly cold again with patchy ice fog in places. On the North Slope skies will be mostly to […]

  • News

    Families displaced after car fire spreads to building

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 28, 7:51

    Multiple families were displaced after a car fire spread to a nearby building in Mountain View Tuesday night. The fire broke out around 9 p.m. at 319 Bunn Street. It started in a carport and was spreading to a fiveplex when crews arrived, according to the Anchorage Fire Department. “There were several explosions from the […]