Research Papers

Heart-rate variability (HRV) is frequently introduced as mirroring imbalances within the autonomous nerve system. Many investigations are based on the paradigm that increased sympathetic tone is associated with decreased parasympathetic tone and vice versa. But HRV is probably more than an indicator for probable disturbances in the autonomous system.

Front. Public Health, 11 September 2017

The vagus nerve has dual anti‐inflammatory properties through its afferent (i.e. hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis) and efferent (i.e. the anti‐TNFα effect of the cholinergic anti‐inflammatory pathway) fibres. We have shown that there is an inverse relationship between vagal tone and plasma TNFα level in patients with CD, and have reported, for the first time, that chronic vagus nerve stimulation has anti‐inflammatory properties in a rat model of colitis and in a pilot study performed in seven patients with moderate CD.

Journal of Internal Medicine, 18 April 2017
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The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate. It establishes one of the connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent fibers. In this review article, we discuss various functions of the vagus nerve which make it an attractive target in treating psychiatric and gastrointestinal disorders. There is preliminary evidence that vagus nerve stimulation is a promising add-on treatment for treatment-refractory depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Front Psychiatry, 13 March, 2018

Neuro-immune communication and neural circuits regulating immunity have been therapeutically explored in preclinical models and successfully in recent human clinical trials. Implantable bioelectronic devices that stimulate the inflammatory reflex are effective in suppressing cytokine production during endoxtoxemia and other models of infection and injury. Whether vagus nerve stimulation can enhance cytokines was previously unknown. Here we analyzed serum cytokine levels in response to electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve using different pulse parameters.

Journal of Immunology, 1 May, 2018

The vagal nerve plays a crucial role in signaling the homeostatic demand to the brain. Invasive or non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) is thus assumed to reduce appetite, rendering VNS another possible treatment option for obesity. Based on currently available evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved VNS for the treatment of obesity. This review summarizes scientific evidence regarding these techniques’ efficacy in modulating food craving and calorie intake.

Front. Neuroscience, 29 November, 2018

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, prevalent, and disabling autoimmune disease that occurs when inflammation damages joints. Recent advances in neuroscience and immunology have mapped neural circuits that regulate the onset and resolution of inflammation. In one circuit, termed “the inflammatory reflex,” action potentials transmitted in the vagus nerve inhibit the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), an inflammatory molecule that is a major therapeutic target in RA. Although studied in animal models of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, whether electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve can inhibit TNF production in humans has remained unknown. The positive mechanistic results reported here extend the preclinical data to the clinic and reveal that vagus nerve stimulation inhibits TNF and attenuates disease severity in RA patients.

PNAS, 19 July, 2016

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been tested for treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders for over 25 years. So far, it is approved as a treatment of drug-resistant epileptic seizures. Proven effectiveness and long clinical experience of VNS brought attention of many researchers into other potential applications. Among the most promising directions are areas of cognitive disorders and memory processing. Vagus nerve stimulation can be performed directly via surgically implanted stimulator (invasive VNS) or non-invasively via a clip attached to the auricular concha (transcutaneous VNS through the auricular branch of the vagal nerve).

Med Sci Tech, 2017
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