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No-Needle Migraine Treatment Relieves Kids’ Pain Fast, Study Finds

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Experts say a common, needle-free treatment for adults with migraines may be a good option for kids, too. They presented their findings on March 5 at the annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology in Washington, D.C.

Your sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is a cluster of nerves pressed against the back wall of your nasal cavity. These nerves help inform the brain of all kinds of sensations, including pain, and have been a target for migraine treatments since the early 1900s. Today, adults with migraines and other head pain may be given an SPG block, in which a small catheter of local anesthetic is pushed into their nostril to numb the cluster of nerves. Doing so can bring fast relief and disrupt the debilitating migraine cycle.

The SPG block has been proven to be safe and effective—at least in adults. To find out if it could help kids, too, researchers at Phoenix Children’s Hospital recruited 85 migraine patients between the ages of 7 and 18. Each kid was asked to rate their pain on a scale of one to 10 before the treatment and again 10 minutes afterward.

Like their grownup counterparts, juvenile patients saw fast, significant pain relief with the SPG block. Post-treatment pain levels went down an average of more than two points on the 10-point scale. A two-point decrease may not sound like much, but it could help a kid with a migraine avoid missing school or—in the most severe cases—hospitalization.

Paper co-author Robin Kaye is section chief of interventional radiology at the hospital. She says the block has a lot of advantages, including eliminating the need for additional treatments. “By reducing the need for medications that come with serious side effects or intravenous therapies that may require hospital stays, children don’t have to miss as much school and can get back to being a kid sooner,” she said in a statement.

The treatment is currently only available at Phoenix Children’s, but Kaye says that will likely change soon, as she’s received a lot of interest from other pediatric radiologists.

She told mental_floss: “Until then, parents should either talk to their child’s pediatrician about the best plan of action to treat their child’s migraines, or seek out a pediatric neurologist that specializes in headaches and ask him/her about the possibility of their child receiving this treatment.”

Editor's note: This post has been slightly updated for clarity.

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Stop Your Snoring and Track Your Sleep With a Wi-Fi Smart Pillow
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Everyone could use a better night's rest. The CDC says that only 66 percent of American adults get as much sleep as they should, so if you're spending plenty of time in bed but mostly tossing and turning (or trying to block out your partner's snores), it may be time to smarten up your sleep accessories. As TechCrunch reports, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow improves your sleeping schedule in a multitude of ways, whether you're looking to quiet your snores or need a soothing lullaby to rock you to sleep.

After a successful Kickstarter in 2016, the product is now on sale and ready to get you snoozing. If you're a snorer, the pillow has a microphone designed to listen to the sound of your snores and softly vibrate so that you shift positions to a quieter pose. Accelerometers in the pillow let the sleep tracker know how much you're moving around at night, allowing it to record your sleep stages. Then, you can hook the pillow up to your Amazon Echo or Google Home so that you can have your favorite smart assistant read out the pillow's analysis of your sleep quality and snoring levels the next morning.

The pillow is also equipped with eight different wireless speakers that turn it into an extra-personal musical experience. You can listen to soothing music while you fall asleep, either connecting the pillow to your Spotify or Apple Music account on your phone via Bluetooth or using the built-in relaxation programs. You can even use it to listen to podcasts without disturbing your partner. You can set a timer to turn the music off after a certain period so you don't wake up in the middle of the night still listening to Serial.

And when it's time to wake up, the pillow will analyze your movements to wake you during your lightest sleep stage, again keeping the noise of an alarm from disturbing your partner.

The downside? Suddenly your pillow is just another device with a battery that needs to charge. And forget about using it in a place without Wi-Fi.

The ZEEQ Smart Pillow currently costs $200.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Want to Fall Asleep Faster? Add This Tweak To Your Bedtime Routine
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There are countless reasons people have trouble falling asleep. It could be physiological, as in the case of airway-obstructing sleep apnea, or it could be because you’ve had too much caffeine too late in the day. But some of us experience delayed slumber for a different reason: Our racing minds can’t quite shift into a lower gear. If you fall into this hyper-vigilant category, there’s a side effect-free way to try and resolve the problem.

In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers found that subjects who were tasked with writing out a to-do list for the following day (or days) before bed were able to fall asleep more quickly than other subjects who wrote about only what they had done that day.

The test, performed at Baylor University, recruited 57 people between the ages of 18 and 30 and kept them overnight in a sleep lab. Those who wrote down their planned tasks could use bullet points or paragraphs and fell asleep an average of nine minutes faster than subjects who didn’t. The more specific the list, the faster they were able to crash.

Researchers believe that the act of writing down responsibilities might be one way the brain can let go of a person’s obligations. (Thinking of what you have to do won’t have quite the same effect.) It was a small study, but considering how non-invasive it is, it might be worth trying if you're experiencing a lot of tossing and turning.

[h/t Travel+Leisure]

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