3. Vagus nerve stimulation treats depressionA non-invasive method of vagus nerve stimulation has been used to treat depression, according to a new study.
Researchers at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences and Harvard Medical School reported that there was a successful reduction of depressive symptoms in patients who underwent vagus nerve stimulation. The study also suggests that there was a modest benefit over a long period of time, according to a press release.
Each participant had a functional neuroimaging scan before and after stimulation. Through a modified version of vagus nerve stimulation called transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation, participants in the study had electrodes clipped to their ears like headphones to stimulate the vagus nerve.
Neuroimaging scans after vagus nerve stimulation showed that there was an increased functional connectivity between a patient’s default mode network and precuneus and orbital prefrontal cortex.