NYU Langone Health led migraine focused digital therapy study and reports that patients who used the app at least two times a week had fewer migraine episodes throughout the study.
Published in Digital Medicine, a journal published by the International Society of Digital Medicine, encouraged patients to try non-pharmacological methods—such as cognitive therapy, biofeedback, and progressive muscle relaxation to address migraine headaches reports Neurology Today. Neurology Today’s Jamie Talan reports that apparently, many physicians will not even be aware of these types of effective treatments.
Dr. Minen and team designed the study to determine whether they could motivate more migraine patients to use non-pharmacological treatments. The digital app includes audio files (one if 5 minutes; the other 15 minutes) that instruct patients on how to relax one group at a time.
NYU recruited migraine patients through the NYU neurology clinic. Most of the patients reported frequent and severe headaches regardless of treatment approach. Of all the patients, 60% self-reported severe symptoms and 75% were taking preventative medications.
The participants maintained a daily headache log. The patients documented an average time spent on the audio files of 11 minutes and an average number of days engaging with the exercises of 22. The patients were followed in the study for 90 days.
The patients that used the app the most reported the fewer headaches. Interestingly the investigators assessed anxiety and depressive symptoms and found that at the end of the study those who were anxious used the app more were those that were depressed used the app less.
The investigators overall were satisfied with the study. They will now consider ways to integrate the behavioral therapy app into health care system model.
Mia T. Minen, MD, MpH, Chief of Headache Research, NYU Langone Health