Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) and Other Augmentation Strategies for Therapy-Resistant Depression (TRD): Review of the Evidence and Clinical Advice for Use – Free full text /PMC5902793/ – Apr 2018
This mini-review provides a comprehensive overview of augmentation pharmacotherapy and neurostimulation-based treatment strategies, with a special focus on VNS in TRD, and provides practical clinical advice for how to select TRD patients for add-on neurostimulation treatment strategies.
In addition to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is one of the approved neurostimulation tools for treatment of major depression.
If it weren’t so hard to get insurance to pay for these treatments, I’d have tried them long ago. However, the treatments of rTMS have to be frequent (almost daily for a while) and don’t always last longer than weeks (or even days) and I’m not going to drive an hour to appointments every few days. Continue reading
Correcting the Missing Piece in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Part 1: Discovery – by Diana Driscoll, OD, President of Genetic Disease Investigators – Jan 2016
This article explains the “Driscoll Theory”, which posits that “extremely low levels of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine” is causing the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She makes a convincing argument:
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) can involve
- the central nervous system (cognition, executive function, short- term memory),
- the peripheral nervous system (muscle weakness, fatigue with exertion), and
- the autonomic nervous system (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion).
Neurobiology and Neurophysiology of Breath Practices in Psychiatric Care | Psychiatric Times – by Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD and Richard P. Brown, MD – Nov 30, 2016
Because the physical act of breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, it has a powerful effect on our whole nervous system.
Autonomic nervous system dysfunction is associated with most disorders seen in pediatric and adult psychiatric practice, including anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, hostility and aggression, attention deficit disorders, and autism spectrum disorder.
Increasing the underactivity of the parasympathetic branch and correcting the erratic or overactivity of the sympathetic branch can improve stress resilience and ameliorate psychological and physical symptoms. Continue reading
Potential for ‘electroceutical’ devices to treat illness, alleviate pain – Medical News Today – May 2014
A Stanford electrical engineer has invented a way to wirelessly transfer power deep inside the body, and then use this power to run tiny electronic medical devices such as pacemakers, nerve stimulators, or new sensors and gadgets yet to be developed.
The discoveries reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) culminate years of efforts by Ada Poon, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, to eliminate the bulky batteries and clumsy recharging systems that prevent medical devices from being more widely used.
“We need to make these devices as small as possible to more easily implant them deep in the body and create new ways to treat illness and alleviate pain,” said Poon.
This is what Silicon Valley is good for. Once the specifications are set, some company will build a miniature implantable device. Continue reading
The shock tactics set to shake up immunology: Nature News & Comment – May 2017 – Douglas Fox
An experimental procedure is exposing the links between the nervous and immune systems. Could it be the start of a revolution?
Six times a day, Katrin pauses whatever she’s doing, removes a small magnet from her pocket and touches it to a raised patch of skin just below her collarbone. For 60 seconds, she feels a soft vibration in her throat. Her voice quavers if she talks. Then, the sensation subsides.
The magnet switches on an implanted device that emits a series of electrical pulses — each about a milliamp, similar to the current drawn by a typical hearing aid. Continue reading
Major Stanford Study Indicates Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is Inflammatory Disorder – Simmaron Research By Cort Johnson – August 11, 2017
The study examined the levels of a very large number of cytokines (n=51) in the blood of a very large number of patients and healthy controls (ME/CFS=186; healthy controls= 388). Age, sex, race and something called “nonspecific binding” were accounted for.
One of the biggest ME/CFS immune studies ever undertaken, done at a top University, this was a study that we dearly didn’t want to fail.
This is the kind of study likely to be labeled “definitive”. Continue reading
Failed back surgery syndrome: review and new hypotheses – J Pain Res. Jan 2016 – free full-text PMC article
This article posits that failed back surgery may be linked to a dysfunctional diaphragm because “diaphragm dysfunction would lead to alterations in the biomechanics of the lumbar spine”.
Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a term used to define an unsatisfactory outcome of a patient who underwent spinal surgery, irrespective of type or intervention area, with persistent pain in the lumbosacral region with or without it radiating to the leg.
This article reviews the current literature on FBSS and tries to give a new hypothesis to understand the reasons for this clinical problem.
Feinstein Institute Scientists Discover More Detail About the Vagus Nerve and Immune System | The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research – December 21st, 2016
Here are three articles showing how taxpayer-funded research discoveries are turned into corporate profits.
Researchers at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research discovered more details about how the vagus nerve interacts with the immune system, better understanding how bioelectronic medicine may treat disease.
By mapping the mechanisms of the vagus nerve and identifying new neural pathways by which the vagus nerve sends signals to the rest of the body, researchers now can focus their attention on using bioelectronic medicine to activate the newly revealed pathways and treat a wide variety of conditions and diseases. Continue reading
A review of analgesic and emotive breathing: a multidisciplinary approach – J Multidiscip Healthc. 2016 Feb – free full-text PMC article
The action of respiration is turning out to be much more significant that just to take in air. This fundamental process influences many other body systems as we unthinkingly take breaths, all day, every day, all our lives.
The diaphragm is the primary muscle involved in breathing and other non-primarily respiratory functions such as the maintenance of correct posture and lumbar and sacroiliac movement.
It intervenes to facilitate cleaning of the upper airways through coughing, facilitates the evacuation of the intestines, and promotes the redistribution of the body’s blood.
The diaphragm also has the ability to affect the perception of pain and the emotional state of the patient, functions that are the subject of this article. Continue reading
The breathing conundrum – interoceptive sensitivity and anxiety – Oct 2013 – free full-text PMC articlle
Various controlled breathing practices seem to have powerful effects on the nervous system, probably through stimulation of the vagus nerve.
This review focuses on the relationship between breathing and anxiety.
Several anxiety disorders have been associated with
- altered breathing,
- perception of breathing and
- response to manipulations of breathing.