• 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

  • News

    Fairbanks municipalities plan marijuana meeting

    by Associated Press on Nov 28, 10:54

    Three municipalities within the Fairbanks North Star Borough will meet next week to discuss the new state law legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1y0CaG2) reports a public forum hosted by the borough assembly and the Fairbanks and North Pole city councils is planned for Tuesday night. Officials at the intergovernmental work […]

  • On-Air

    Get Out: Hike it Baby

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 28, 10:26

    A few weeks ago we had a few ladies from Hike it Baby Anchorage on the Daybreak couch. Hiking and babies sounded like non-stop fun to me, so in this week’s Get Out I met up with a few of the members from the group for a hike on the Hillside at Prospect Heights trailhead. […]

  • News

    Icy Strait Point dock construction to begin

    by Associated Press on Nov 28, 10:13

    Construction of a new cruise ship dock near Hoonah is expected to begin next year. Capital City Weekly (http://is.gd/eNh0IB) reports Anchorage-based Turnagain Marine construction on Monday won the $23.7 million contract to design and build a 400-foot floating dock at Icy Strait Point, a southeast Alaska cruise ship destination. Icy Strait Point is owned by […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Derek Dean

    by Daybreak Staff on Nov 28, 9:16

    Anchorage singer/songwriter Derek Dean made his Daybreak debut Friday, performing songs from his unreleased EP. Dean has been writing ’90s alternative rock-inspired songs for more than a decade. He made his way into the Anchorage music scene as lead singer/songwriter and guitarist for the band Easyhead. In August 2012, his song “Phobia” was named Indie Rock Song […]

  • News

    Injured moose makes minor moves

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 28, 8:57

    It’s day six of a moose watch in an East Anchorage neighborhood, where residents are worried the injured bull won’t recover after he was tangled in a fencing wire. The bull was seen in a yard on Trena Street Thursday afternoon. Neighbors say it’s eerie to see such a regal animal lying in a residential […]

  • DayBreak

    Meet Grant, this week’s Daybreak Adopt-A-Pet

    by Daybreak Staff on Nov 28, 8:43

    I confess, I love to have my head scratched. It brings out my deep purrrrrrr … Hear it? Grant is a male, long-haired male tabby with stunning green eyes that will melt your heart. Not only is he good looking, he also has an easy-going and affable personality. Rumor has it that Grant is a purring […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Nov. 28

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 28, 8:25

    Mostly cloudy skies for the majority of the region today with some snow moving into Southcentral tonight and tomorrow. Some light accumulations are likely. In the Southeast it will be a beautiful day with sunny skies. In the Interior it will be cold and partly cloudy today. On the North Slope skies will be partly […]

  • News

    Generations of veterans gather for Thanksgiving

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 28, 7:45

    On a holiday that revolves around food, it’s only natural that the kitchen is kept busy. Cooking for a houseful of people is a tough enough. Still, Kim Lisius had a bigger idea. “They’ve done so much for us and our country. Anything we can do is huge,” Lisius said. She is part of Alaska’s […]