Vagus nerve stimulation

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history
Jump to: navigation, search

Vagus nerve stimulation or vagal nerve stimulation or VNS is a medical treatment that involves delivering electrical impulses to the vagus nerve via a device that is either implanted or wearable. It is sometimes referred to as a "pacemaker for the brain." The non-surgical option is called transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation or t-VNS and is delivered via an electrode clipped onto the ear and attached to a portable impulse-generating device.[1]

Currently it is mostly used as an adjunctive treatment for certain types of intractable epilepsy[2] and treatment-resistant depression.[2][3]

The vagus nerve can inhibit cytokine release, via release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine[4] and thereby prevent tissue injury and death. In research studies, stimulation of the vagus nerve prevents the damaging effects of cytokine release in experimental sepsis, endotoxemia,[5] ischemia/reperfusion injury, hemorrhagic shock, arthritis, and other inflammatory syndromes.[6]

Kevin J. Tracey, MD and his research group at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have shown that vagus nerve stimulation has decreased inflammation in methotrexate-resistant rheumatoid arthritis patients.[7]

Other researchers are experimenting with vagus nerve stimulation as an adjunct therapy on a host of mental health, neurological, and inflammatory illnesses, including:

and much more.[15]

Media coverage[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. "Treating Depression With Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation", Neuroscience News, Houston, 4 February 2016, retrieved 2016-12-12 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pisapia, Jared; Baltuch, Gordon (22 January 2016), "Vagus nerve stimulation: Introduction and technical aspects", in Hamani, Clement; Holtzheimer, Paul; Lozano, Andres; Mayberg, Helen, Neuromodulation in Psychiatry, Chicester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-1118801048, doi:10.1002/9781118801086.ch17/ 
  3. Mayo Clinic – Vagus nerve stimulation
  4. Lund, D. D.; Oda, R. P.; Pardini, B. J.; Schmid, P. G. (March 1986), "Vagus nerve stimulation alters regional acetylcholine turnover in rat heart", Circulation Research, 58 (3): 372–377, ISSN 0009-7330, PMID 3719926 
  5. Borovikova, Lyudmila V.; Ivanova, Svetlana; Zhang, Minghuang; Yang, Huan; Botchkina, Galina I.; Watkins, Linda R.; Wang, Haichao; Abumrad, Naji; Eaton, John W.; Tracey, Kevin J. (2000-05-25), "Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin", Nature, 405 (6785): 458–462, ISSN 0028-0836, doi:10.1038/35013070, retrieved 2016-12-12 
  6. Tracey, Kevin J. (2007-02-01), "Physiology and immunology of the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway", Journal of Clinical Investigation, 117 (2): 289–296, ISSN 0021-9738, PMC 1783813Freely accessible, PMID 17273548, doi:10.1172/JCI30555, retrieved 2016-12-12 
  7. The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research – Kevin J. Tracey, MD: Research Focus
  8. Fanselow, Michael S. (2013-06-01), "Fear and anxiety take a double hit from vagal nerve stimulation", Biological Psychiatry, 73 (11): 1043–1044, ISSN 1873-2402, PMC 4176918Freely accessible, PMID 23647735, doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.03.025 
  9. Stavrakis, Stavros; Humphrey, Mary Beth; Scherlag, Benjamin J.; Hu, Yanqing; Jackman, Warren M.; Nakagawa, Hiroshi; Lockwood, Deborah; Lazzara, Ralph; Po, Sunny S. (2015-03-10), "Low-level transcutaneous electrical vagus nerve stimulation suppresses atrial fibrillation", Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 65 (9): 867–875, ISSN 1558-3597, PMC 4352201Freely accessible, PMID 25744003, doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.12.026 
  10. Chakravarthy, Krishnan; Chaudhry, Hira; Williams, Kayode; Christo, Paul J. (December 2015), "Review of the Uses of Vagal Nerve Stimulation in Chronic Pain Management", Current Pain and Headache Reports, 19 (12): 54, ISSN 1534-3081, PMID 26493698, doi:10.1007/s11916-015-0528-6 
  11. Bonaz, B.; Sinniger, V.; Hoffmann, D.; Clarençon, D.; Mathieu, N.; Dantzer, C.; Vercueil, L.; Picq, C.; Trocmé, C.; Faure, P.; Cracowski, J.-L.; Pellissier, S. (June 2016), "Chronic vagus nerve stimulation in Crohn's disease: a 6-month follow-up pilot study", Neurogastroenterology and Motility: The Official Journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, 28 (6): 948–953, ISSN 1365-2982, PMID 26920654, doi:10.1111/nmo.12792 
  12. Lange, Gudrun; Janal, Malvin N.; Maniker, Allen; Fitzgibbons, Jennifer; Fobler, Malusha; Cook, Dane; Natelson, Benjamin H. (September 2011), "Safety and efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation in fibromyalgia: a phase I/II proof of concept trial", Pain Medicine (Malden, Mass.), 12 (9): 1406–1413, ISSN 1526-4637, PMC 3173600Freely accessible, PMID 21812908, doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01203.x 
  13. Hauptman, Paul J.; Schwartz, Peter J.; Gold, Michael R.; Borggrefe, Martin; Van Veldhuisen, Dirk J.; Starling, Randall C.; Mann, Douglas L. (June 2012), "Rationale and study design of the increase of vagal tone in heart failure study: INOVATE-HF", American Heart Journal, 163 (6): 954–962.e1, ISSN 1097-6744, PMID 22709747, doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2012.03.021 
  14. Silberstein, Stephen D.; Calhoun, Anne H.; Lipton, Richard B.; Grosberg, Brian M.; Cady, Roger K.; Dorlas, Stefanie; Simmons, Kristy A.; Mullin, Chris; Liebler, Eric J.; Goadsby, Peter J.; Saper, Joel R.; EVENT Study Group (2016-08-02), "Chronic migraine headache prevention with noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation: The EVENT study", Neurology, 87 (5): 529–538, ISSN 1526-632X, PMC 4970666Freely accessible, PMID 27412146, doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000002918 
  15. Wikipedia - Vagus nerve stimulation
  16. Knapton, Sarah (7 July 2016), "Electronic implant in 'Spock' nerve could reverse rheumatoid arthritis", The Telegraph, London, retrieved 2016-12-12 
  17. Johnson, Cort (11 January 2016), "Vagus Nerve Stimulation, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)", HealthRising, Henderson, NV, retrieved 2016-12-12 
  18. Behar, Michael (23 May 2014), "Can the Nervous System Be Hacked?", The New York Times, retrieved 2016-12-12 

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history