Everything you need to know about the vagus nerve


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What is the vagus nerve?

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A thin wire known as a lead runs from the device to the vagus nerve. The device is placed in the body by surgery under general anesthetic. It then sends electrical impulses at regular intervals, throughout the day, to the brain via the vagus nerve to reduce the severity, or even stop, seizures. People using this form of treatment should always tell their doctor if they are having any problems as there may be ways to reduce or stop these.

In , the FDA approved the use of vagus nerve stimulation as a treatment for depression. It has also been found to help with the following conditions:. With the vagus nerve having pathways to almost every organ in the body, researchers are looking to see if stimulation can help other conditions. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, which affects 1. Individuals who had failed to respond to other treatment reported significant improvements, while no serious adverse side effects were noted.

This was considered a real breakthrough in how vagus nerve stimulation might not only treat rheumatoid arthritis but other inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. Article last reviewed by Wed 28 June All references are available in the References tab.

Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports , 1 2 , Vagus nerve stimulation inhibits cytokine production and attenuates disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis. PNAS , 29 , The vagus nerve CN X. Vagus nerve stimulation VNS therapy for epilepsy. What happens in vagus. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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