A Novel Magnetic Stimulator Increases Experimental Pain Tolerance in Healthy Volunteers - A Double-Blind Sham-Controlled Crossover Study

Department of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 04/2013; 8(4):e61926. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061926
Source: PubMed


The ‘complex neural pulse’TM (CNP) is a neuromodulation protocol employing weak pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). A pioneering paper reported an analgesic effect in healthy humans after 30 minutes of CNP-stimulation using three nested whole head coils. We aimed to devise and validate a stimulator with a novel design entailing a multitude of small coils at known anatomical positions on a head cap, to improve applicability. The main hypothesis was that CNP delivery with this novel device would also increase heat pain thresholds. Twenty healthy volunteers were enrolled in this double-blind, sham-controlled, crossover study. Thirty minutes of PEMF (CNP) or sham was applied to the head. After one week the other treatment was given. Before and after each treatment, primary and secondary outcomes were measured. Primary outcome was heat pain threshold (HPT) measured with thermal quantitative sensory testing. Other outcomes were warmth detection threshold, and aspects of cognition, emotion and motor performance. As hypothesized heat pain threshold was significantly increased after the PEMF stimulation. All other outcomes were unaltered by the PEMF but there was a trend level reduction of cognitive performance after PEMF stimulation as measured by the digit-symbol substitution task. Results from this pilot study suggest that our device is able to stimulate the brain and to modulate its function. This is in agreement with previous studies that used similar magnetic field strengths to stimulate the brain. Specifically, pain control may be achieved with PEMF and for this analgesic effect, coil design does not appear to play a dominant role. In addition, the flexible configuration with small coils on a head cap improves clinical applicability.

Trial Registration
Dutch Cochrane Centre NTR1093

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Available from: Johannes H van der Hoeven
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    • "Badania z podwójnie ślepą próbą wykazują, że pulsujące pole elektromagnetyczne (o maksymalnej indukcji 1,45 mT i częstotliwości 1 Hz – 1 MHz) zmniejszało próg bólu wywołany szokiem termicznym zdrowych ochotników[3]. Przezczaszkowa stymulacja polem magnetycznym o częstotliwości 10 Hz wpływała terapeutycznie na aktywność mózgu u osób chorych na depresję [4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Variable magnetic field of low frequency (200-300 Hz) is one of physical methods used in reducing pain as well as regeneration of bone and soft tissue. In medical literature there are case reports about successful treatment of chronic wound healing with this method. However, there is a lack of research that could explain the mechanism of action of magnetic field in this area. Literature data show that magnetic fields have an influence on cells cultures in vitro. Cells reaction depends on cells line, field parameters and time of exposition. In our study we checked if the magnetic field of 180-195 Hz frequency influences Balb 3T3 cells viability. This study was conducted on mouse fibroblast Balb 3T3 cells, and the influence of variable magnetic field on cells was checked. Magnetic field was generated by Viofor JPS System Classic (Med&Life). Cells were seeded on 96-well plates. After 24 hours the cells culture was exposed on magnetic fields. Two controls and six groups was included in the study. Two programs generated by Viofor JPS System Classic were chosen: M1P2 and M2P2, as well as two intensities 6 and 12. Groups 1, 2, 5 and 6 were exposed once within two days, groups 3 and 4 were exposed three times a day every hour within two days. Experiment lasted two days and was repeated 3-5 times. Experiment was evaluated with colorimetric MTT test. The test showed influence of magnetic field generated by Viofor JPS System Classic on viability of Balb 3T3 cells. Three from six chosen programs resulted in the increase of viability, compare to control. The control was taken as 100%. In groups 139%, 128%, 108% and 92% of viability was noted. Results were statisticaly significant in four groups (p < 0.05, Student's t test). The influence of magnetic fields generated by Viofor JPS System Classic (Med&Life) on mouse fibroblast Balb 3T3 cells was noted. Results suggest potential beneficial effect of this physical method on chronic wound treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Polimery w medycynie

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