*sees spoiler warning for a thing i like* oh no *reads it anyway* shit i’ve been spoiled
i am exceptionally good at working myself into a melancholy and nostalgic mood for no reason
“My parents are bread.
And you’re toast.”
The Dark Knight Rises
Fantastic news for people who suffer regularly from migraine headaches. The FDA has just approved a wearable electrical stimulation device for sales in the United States — a headband that prevents the onset of migraines when worn for just 20 minutes each day.
A device like this is definitely long overdue. Some 10% of people worldwide suffer from migraines, a condition characterized by intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head, accompanied by nausea or vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
Developed by STX-Med in Beligum, Cefaly is a compact, portable, battery-powered, prescription device. It’s placed at the center of the forehead, just above the eyes, using a self-adhesive electrode. The headband then delivers transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to the trigeminal nerve known to be involved in migraine headaches. The only known noticeable effect is a tingling or massaging sensation where the electrode is applied. It can only be used by people age 18 or older and should be used no more than once per day for 20 minutes. [x]
I appreciate the fact that they got a designer to make it look like a space tiara. They didn’t have to go that extra mile, but they did, because they care.
OK, so, I’m a neuroscientist, and I’m a migraine sufferer, so I thought I’d be all over this, right? Yeah, no. I am… let’s say ‘politely suspicious’. The Cochrane Collaboration (the gold standard for scientific peer review) produced a review of the underlying principle for Cefaly (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) in 2008, and said:
"Published literature on the subject lacks the methodological rigour or robust reporting needed to make confident assessments of the role of TENS in chronic pain management."
i.e., the research is all a bit low-quality at present so we’re not going to say it works just yet. Google tells me an older review (Health Technology Assessment) from 1998 said something slightly more damning:
"Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) has been shown not to be effective in postoperative and labour pain. In chronic pain, there is evidence that TENS effectiveness increases slowly, and that large doses need to be used. There is lack of evidence for the effectiveness of TENS in chronic pain.” [Bolding mine.]
So straight off the bat, the underlying principle is… well, suspicious. Whilst the research Cefaly claim is more recent, it’s also funded by them, which is a massive warning sign. (I mean, recently a soda company funded a study that, surprise surprise, claimed diet soda was better for losing weight than drinking water. AHAHAHAHAHHAH.) A non-neutral funding body has been shown, again and again, to skew the results in favour of what the company wants to find, and there’s meta-analyses to prove it.
Plus, someone actually looked at the FDA paperwork, and found that Cefaly got approval because it’s safe, not because there’s evidence it actually works. (“[It has been] approved through the ‘de novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for generally low- to moderate-risk medical devices’”). Further to that, one of the scientific studied listed on the site measured safety, not efficacy (Magis et al., 2013), so how the hell the Cefaly folks concluded “Effective against migraine” on the actual CLINICAL STUDIES PAGE is beyond me. The study that did look at efficacy had some fairly shitty statistics, as the neurologist Dr. Steven Novella observes:
"they report, “The difference in migraine day reduction between the 2 groups just failed to reach the level of statistical significance.” That’s a negative result, but they presented it as positive by essentially reporting the statistics in a a non-valid way."
So they lied, basically. They said it worked when it didn’t. And that’s not even taking into account the fact that there’s bugger-all in the way of detail on how the study was blinded, or the fact that they had no true control group, or an experimental group that compared the headband with the current recommended drugs. That is what trials are supposed to do: compare a new product to what’s available that works the best. If it doesn’t even compete with that, then what’s the point?
The website itself throws up a huge, huge bunch of red flags, which is what made me suspicious to all of this. Firstly, the first big flag was that it has a section on testimonials, which screams ‘snake oil’. Why would a product, if backed up with solid peer-reviewed research, need a part of their website for people to just say how good they think it is? This is not Amazon. This is meant to be Serious Science.
Next, the link up there is to the european/US website, which is nice and polished, but the original link to the Canadian one is not nearly as slick. Dr. Novella wasn’t much impressed, either, and pointed out that the two studies required for FDA approval aren’t listed there. What is listed it a bunch of irrelevant studies on epilepsy and nerve pain, which are totally different things. This science-vomit of irrelevance is a warning, and a big one; this is a money-making set-up, not a scientific one. Not to mention they’re either lying or grossly inflating the results of the one relevant study, which is only moderate support at best.
TL;DR: TENS shows promise and may show benefit in further clinical studies (and possibly in non-chronic pain relief), but not like this, dude. Don’t waste your money on something that makes no promises on what it can deliver and lied about its efficacy, unless you’re a fan of very expensive placebo effects.
EDITED TO ADD: It’s just occurred to me – the product’s designers make a fuss about how it uses an electrode to stimulate the trigeminal nerve, which “ends at the exit of the eye socket, underneath the skin of the forehead”. Um, yeah OK, broadly it does, but there’s going to be crazy amounts of individual variation. If you want to put electrodes on a person for something this specific and this targeted, you’d need to know exactly where it is, and apply the electrode directly. NEATLY IGNORING that a) there’s huge scientific debate as to whether the nerve itself has anything to do with migraines because b) as far as I understand it (though I’m not a migraine expert), no one currently actually knows what causes migraines.
Teddy Lupin is not in disgrace.
But he almost wishes he was, because his family are finding this whole gossip column debacle far too amusing.
“Ah, there you are,” says Harry, when he appears in the main area of the tent. “I thought you’d be off lurking somewhere.”
“As wild boys are prone to doing,” Remus adds, solemnly. He winks at his son, who pulls a face.
“Read the bit about us again, Remus,” says Tonks, ignoring Teddy’s yelps of protest. “I’ve never heard anything so funny.”
Clearing his throat, Remus obliges.
“Meanwhile, Potter’s godson, teenage son of war heroes Remus and Nymphadora Lupin, has so far attracted a lot of attention for his antics. Sixteen year old Teddy Lupin, a lanky half-werewolf with bright blue hair, has been behaving in a way unbefitting of wizarding royalty since arriving on the VIP campsite. One might expect Master Lupin’s father, as Hogwarts’ longest-standing Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, to be able to control his son, but Remus Lupin (now in his fifties and heavily greying) was himself a teenage rebel, joining underground revolution the Order of the Phoenix during its first wave in the 1970s. Significantly younger wife Nymphadora is an Auror alongside Potter, but her son’s misdemeanours can hardly instil confidence in those who already have their doubts about the incumbent Auror Office. I suspect, furthermore, that Mrs. Lupin’s shocking pink hair, a brave choice for a witch of her age, will do little to help this less-than-favourable impression.”
ϟ 95) When Teddy was an infant, his hair turned color to match that of the person he wanted to hold him. This worked well when he wanted his godfather, which was often, but it became incredibly confusing when he sought a Weasley. There were many hasty rounds of pass-the-baby-because-dear-god-stop-the-crying.
Jily Week Day 3: Notes
Lily gritted her teeth at the sensation of something small and light hitting her in the back of the head. Ignore it, ignore him, just focus on the paper in front of you….
Of course, focusing on the paper in front of her might be easier if it wasn’t History of Magic, and if she hadn’t finished the last question twenty minutes ago. She began to doodle idly in the margins; a broomstick, a quaffle, a pair of glasses…on second thoughts, she scribbled them out.
Another balled up piece of parchment was thrown her way, but this one flew past her ear and landed on the desk in front of her. She was pretty confident that his aim was good enough that he could make his stupid screwed up balls of paper go wherever he wanted – there was a reason he made the Quidditch team in his second year – so she suspected she was supposed to look at this one.
She ignored it for a full minute before she lost the battle with her curiosity.
Evans, you look very nice today.
She chewed a nail nervously, before grabbing her quill and scribbling a response.
This is an exam Potter, don’t you have something better to do with your time? Like not failing it. NEWTS are only next year you know. Though why any of us took this subject I’ll never understand. Obviously none of us were thinking clearly.
She used her wand to send it back to him – he was one row back and one seat across, and not everybody was blessed with Quidditch level reflexes.
There were a few minutes of peace, but then it was back on her desk. She ground her jaw in frustration, but she knew she was incapable of ignoring it. It was a surprisingly lengthy response.
I NEVER fail History. For some reason, I have a photographic memory when it comes to the Goblin Rebellions. Also, Binns has given the exact same tests every year for the last forty-two years, and the past papers are filed in the library. Somebody who was smart enough to realise this could just memorise all the answers and use the class time for more important things. The Quidditch play book doesn’t write itself you know. Anyway, back on topic: you look very nice today. That skirt looks great on you.
he is so smart
with his scar
and his broomstick
- actual canon line by Draco Malfoy
Is there a link to proof…
(it’s not actually canon)
are you calling me a liar