FDA allows marketing of magnetic stimulator for migraine with aura

Posted 14 December 2013 by Markus Dahlem

“It's like something you'd see on Star Trek”. That's how it was described five years ago in this video: therapeutic magnetic stimulation in migraine. This technique is investigated for much longer. Now, yesterday, the FDA allowed marketing of the first transcranial magnetic stimulator for migraine with aura. And only for migraine with aura, as I understand it—I will get back to this point. The decision is based on a new study published in “Headache” that concludes: “Two decades of clinical experience with sTMS [single... Read more

Searching for dynamical network biomarkers in migraine

Posted 5 December 2013 by Markus Dahlem

In a new paper, we suggest how to integrate methods form computational neuroscience with neuromodulation (i.e., electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain) for the next generation of non-drug treatment in migraine. In particular, we propose a strategy to employ the new theoretical concept of dynamical network biomarkers as early-warning signals being utilized for neuromodulation. What is a dynamical network biomarker? It is a specific signal that occurs during transitions. Migraine is mainly characterized by sudden and recurrent transitions into episodes... Read more

Migraine big bang

Posted 5 November 2013 by Markus Dahlem

Our whole brain was in a hot stressed state, Then nearly fourteen minutes ago expansion started. Wait... The skin began to cool, The eyes began to fool, The pain developed cruel, We closed the door (we switched off the light), Photophobia, phonophobia, nausea, raveling mysteries, That all started with the big bang! I have a recent paper in the The Journal of Mathematical Neuroscience that looks into the nucleation and subsequent growth processes of cortical ion imbalances (MAD and T. Isele: Transient localized wave... Read more

New paper on regulating ion concentrations and energy-starvation in the brain

Posted 19 October 2013 by Markus Dahlem

New paper on the arXiv. Theoretical neuroscience complements experimental and clinical neuroscience. We provide a theoretical analysis of a second-generation Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) formalism, that has been used before in models for muscle cells (myocytes) and pancreatic beta-cells, but not in models of brain cells (neurons) to better understand pathological stress conditions in migraine and stroke. The HH formulation of action potentials is certainly one of the most successful models in mathematical biology. It describes an essential part of cell-to-cell communication... Read more

K-Mart: Remove the Pharmacy Surprise ad from airplay and issue an apology

Posted 16 August 2013 by Markus Dahlem

Would you dare script the mother say, “I lied, I don’t really have breast cancer”? Two days ago, a petition on appeared that I would like you to consider signing. is the go-to site for Web uprisings and although I support several petitions there, I usually do not blog about it. This case is different as many might not even see the problem, which makes it a rather perfidious problem deserving more attention. First, let me cite from... Read more

Flogging a dying rat and riding the wave

Posted 15 August 2013 by Markus Dahlem

Are their any signs of heightened consciousness in dying brains? Or is it just a wave of death as others have called it—more sober: a latency to unconsciousness. A new study [1] suggests exactly that, namely heightened consciousness in rats after cardiac arrest. First of all, whatever the brain's briefly lasting (~30s) high frequency oscillations mean, they are not new. The paper—though an elegant study with some new results from what I can see on the first glimpse—seems to completely... Read more

A Prescription for Fear Revisited

Posted 18 July 2013 by Markus Dahlem

"A text was not something fixed and eternal but the product of the reader’s mind in conjunction with the author’s". That's just one sentence in the ongoing debate on Virginia Heffernan's text "Why I'm a creationist" from a week ago. I follow Virginia (@page88) and every now and then read her articles ever since she wrote a good piece about health information online—should we worry about hypochondriacs or rather hypocrisy? February 2011, Virginia, then still writing for the NYT Magazine,... Read more

Migraine trending on Twitter for 3 days

Posted 30 June 2013 by Markus Dahlem

On my way back to Germany with my flight being delayed, I have some time to write about the International Headache Congress that I've visited here in Boston. We had many good talks, some about still unpublished data, so I'd rather not write about these research topics here—and my flight is anyway not that much delayed. But one thing is quite remarkable, the hashtags #IHC2013 and #migraine were trending on Twitter for three days. On the last IHC2011 in Berlin,... Read more

Toy model story

Posted 25 May 2013 by Markus Dahlem

It's called spherical cow by myself and others. In The Big Bang Theory it became spherical chickens in a vacuum: A simple model that is either used for back-of-the-envelope calculations or one that is actually useless. Let's forget such jokes and go beyond simple models that are rather calculations, let's go somewhere really much more interesting. I will tell you the story of so-called toy models, in particular their place in science within what might be seen as three categories... Read more

The butcher and lepidopterist

Posted 30 December 2012 by Markus Dahlem

A long time ago, I heard that my great uncle—he was only referred to as Uncle Sepp—collected butterflies. Someone in my family mentioned it. Actually, Uncle Sepp was a butcher. He lived in New Jersey. (I can't but think of Satriale's Pork Store.) Last month, when I was there, in Newark at the NJIT, it got me interested again. Uncle Sepp is already about 30 years dead, but still. Over Christmas, I asked again in my family. His name was... Read more