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Sound Waves: An Rx for High Blood Pressure, Migraine?

Sound Waves: An Rx for High Blood Pressure, Migraine? new sound-based therapy appears to reduce blood pressure and ease migraine symptoms, according to a pair of small studies.

The therapy initially reads brain activity through scalp sensors. That activity is then converted into a series of audible tones. The tones are then reflected back to the brain through earbuds in a matter of milliseconds, explained Dr. Charles Tegeler, a professor of neurology with Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Your brain gets to listen to the song that it’s playing. It gets to look at itself in an acoustic mirror,” said Tegeler, who served as senior researcher for both studies.

“Somehow that rapid update gives the brain a chance to auto-calibrate, self-optimize, relax and reset,” Tegeler said.

One study found that 10 men and women achieved significant reductions in their blood pressure after going through an average of nearly 18 sessions over about 10 days. 

These patients achieved an average reduction in their systolic blood pressure — the top number — from 152 to 136. The diastolic pressure — the bottom number — went down from an average of 97 to 81. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or lower, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Dr. Raymond Townsend, a professor and director of the hypertension program at Penn Medicine, said the reduction created by this technology is on par with that achieved using blood pressure medication.

“This is not a drug, and it’s not technically anything invasive,” said Townsend, who is the American Heart Association’s Physician of the Year for 2016. read more at