As research uncovers new understandings on how our bodies work, it becomes even more clear about how miraculous life really is. I’m sure you have heard of your Vagus nerve, but do you know what it does? Did you realize that it may be “the missing link to treating chronic inflammation” and opening the pathway for an entirely new area of treatment?
The Vagus Nerve consists of two nerves, one of which exists on each side of the body, both starting at the brainstem and connecting with the gut through the chest. It is the longest of the 12 cranial nerves. It was named “Vagus” because, similar to a vagabond, it wanders and meanders throughout the body, connecting with the esophagus, heart, lungs, and ultimately, the abdomen gut. Basically, it is the CEO of the nervous system, in charge of the electrical impulses, controlling the heart rate, and providing the main interconnection between the brain and gut.
Researchers are discovering that by stimulating the Vagus nerve, many different conditions can potentially be treated, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, headache, and pain. Vagus nerve stimulation treatment (VNS) is currently being used to treat epilepsy and depression. This is done by implanting a device under the skin on the chest that stimulates electrical impulses in the left Vagus nerve that travel to the brain, which then carries forward signals to other parts of the brain.
Recent research is proving that electrical stimulation of the Vagus nerve can help to treat inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and Crohn’s Disease by reducing inflammation.
Even more exciting, researchers are discovering that stimulation of the Vagus nerve can restore consciousness. Specifically, French researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research used Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) to bring a man who had been in a vegetative state for nearly half of his life (15 years in vegetative state) back into a minimal level of consciousness. After having VNS for only a month, the patient improved in attention, movement, and brain activity where he could respond to simple orders.
Due to the discoveries of the benefits of vagus nerve stimulation, a new field of treatment called “bioelectronics” is being born. This new field combines biology with electronics, potentially making it possible to avoid medications in the future. To learn more about this entire area, refer to the sources provided below: