Heading off a migraine with aura

Years ago I was building a lightning exhibit for a museum. It had large flash lamps in it. When I was testing it, my neighbor came over to see what was up. She came back the next day and said, “When I was watching the display, I was getting a migraine and was in the middle of an aura. The aura went away quickly and the headache never developed.” We talked about it for a while and I ended up making her a flash unit she could carry in her purse and use at a moment’s notice. Twenty or so flashes always did the trick.


After a few weeks she had had several auras and the flasher always prevented the headaches. She prevailed on me to make flashers for two of her friends who had migraines with auras, and they had similar good results. All in all I’ve made six or seven of these units and they have all worked well.

I have occasional auras but don’t develop the headaches. The flasher works for me too. Once I used my hand to interrupt a bright light and it worked.

I have mentioned this to several neurologists (hoping to set up a clinical trial and make a gazillion bucks). They all thought I was a flake and blew me off. One said that that effect had been known for a long time. I asked why nobody was doing anything about it and he said,”You got me” and went on to another subject.

It turns out that nowadays everybody has a flasher, a digital camera. Figure out how to make it flash and take twenty or so pictures of your eyes. Stare directly into the flash without blinking from an inch or two away. I don’t know if all cameras are bright enough, or if a cell phone or Ipad or whatever is bright enough, but it’s easy enough to find out.

Nobody that used the flashers used them while they had a headache, so I don’t know what would happen. I also don’t know if there is any way to use it with a non-aura migraine.

I haven’t had an aura for ten years or so, so I can’t try it on myself. Wish I could. I kinda like auras, actually.

It seems to me that this is worth a try. If people try it and send in their results, positive or negative, maybe something good would come of it. Can’t hurt.

—Carlos

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