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Vagus Nerve Stimulation And Inflammation

Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation Conceptual Representation
Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation Conceptual Representation

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a medical treatment that is routinely used in the treatment of epilepsy and other neurological conditions. VNS studies are not just clinically, but also scientifically informative regarding the role of the vagus nerve in health and disease.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Device and Method

Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulator Attached to the Auricular Concha via Ear Clip
Non-Invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulator Attached to the Auricular Concha via Ear Clip

Vagus nerve stimulation works by applying electrical impulses to the vagus nerve. The stimulation of the vagus nerve can be performed in two different ways: a direct invasive stimulation, which is currently the most frequent application and an indirect transcutaneous non-invasive stimulation. Invasive VNS (iVNS) requires the surgical implantation of a small pulse generator subcutaneously in the left thoracic region. In contrast to iVNS, transcutaneous VNS (tVNS) allows for a non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve without any surgical procedure. Here, the stimulator is usually attached to the auricular concha via ear clips and delivers electrical impulses at the subcutaneous course of the afferent auricular branch of the vagus nerve (2).

A pilot study that examined the application of VNS in 60 patients with treatment-resistant depressive disorder showed a significant clinical improvement in 30–37% of patients and a high tolerability (3). Five years later, the stimulation of the vagus nerve for the treatment of refractory depression was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (4). Since then, the safety and efficacy of VNS in depression has been demonstrated in numerous observational studies as can be seen below. In contrast, there is no randomized, placebo-control clinical trial that reliably demonstrates antidepressant effects of VNS.

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. Treatments that target the vagus nerve increase the vagal tone and inhibit cytokine production. Both are important mechanism of resiliency. The stimulation of vagal afferent fibers in the gut influences monoaminergic brain systems in the brain stem that play crucial roles in major psychiatric conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders. In line, there is preliminary evidence for gut bacteria to have beneficial effect on mood and anxiety, partly by affecting the activity of the vagus nerve. Since, the vagal tone is correlated with capacity to regulate stress responses and can be influenced by breathing, its increase through meditation and yoga likely contribute to resilience and the mitigation of mood and anxiety symptoms.

VNS In Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin (5) and intestinal inflammation (6). The VNs also indirectly modulates immune activity of the spleen through connections with the splenic sympathetic nerve (7). In rats with colonic inflammation, the 3-hour long daily VNS for a period of 5 days led to a reduction in inflammatory markers and an improvement in symptoms of colitis (8).

Vagus nerve stimulation should be of interest in other inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, another TNF-α-mediated disease. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a study that demonstrated an improvement of symptoms in the early and late stages of the disease through 1–4 minutes of VNS daily (9). This study was also the first to show that VNS inhibits the production of TNF-α (also known as TNF-alpha) and other cytokines in humans by stimulating the inflammatory reflex, leading to an improvement of symptom severity. These data argue for an anti-inflammatory role of the vagus nerve and provide potential therapeutic applications for patients with IBDs (10, 8, 11).

Conclusion

The interaction between the gut and the brain is based on a complex system that includes not only neural but also endocrine, immune, and humoral links.

The vagus nerve is an essential part of the brain–gut axis and plays an important role in the modulation of inflammation, the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, and the regulation of food intake, satiety, and energy homeostasis. An interaction between nutrition and the vagus nerve is well known, and vagal tone can influence food intake and weight gain.

Moreover, the vagus nerve plays an important role in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders, obesity as well as other stress-induced and inflammatory diseases.

Vagus nerve stimulation and several meditation techniques demonstrate that modulating the vagus nerve has a therapeutic effect, mainly due to its relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Extinction paired with VNS is more rapid than extinction paired with sham stimulation. As it is currently approved by the Federal FDA for depression and seizure prevention, VNS is a readily available and promising adjunct to exposure therapy for the treatment of severe anxiety disorders.

Vagus nerve stimulation is an effective anticonvulsant device and has shown in observational studies antidepressant effects in chronic treatment-resistant depression. Because the vagus nerve sends information to brain regions is important in the stress response (LC, orbitofrontal cortex, insula, hippocampus, and amygdala), this pathway might be involved in perceiving or manifesting various somatic and cognitive symptoms that characterize stress-related disorders.

Psychotropic drugs, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, have effects on both the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and consequently should be understood as modulators of the brain–gut axis.

Research investigating the interaction between nutritive factors, somatic factors, such as heart rate, psychological and pharmacological treatments, and vagal activity has the potential to lead to integrative treatment options that incorporate VNS, nutritional approaches, drugs, and psychological interventions, such as mindfulness-based approaches, which can be tailored to the needs of the individual patient.

A Final Thought About Vagus Nerve Stimulation And CES

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) has been engaging Vagus nerve stimulation for decades, through the use of ear clips to stimulate the nerve endings in the ears. Recent data from clinical studies and practical application reflect the positive results that may be gained by applying low amplitude, extremely low frequency (ELF) electric currents, through the Vagus nerve system. The CES Ultra cranial electrotherapy stimulator device incorporates both ELF and ear clip attachments, as part of its standard application to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia without medication.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299

Citations

  1. Frontiers in Psychiatry – Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders (original publication)
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine – Effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation on major depressive disorder: A nonrandomized controlled pilot study
  3. Springer Nature – Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS™) for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Efficacy, Side Effects, and Predictors of Outcome
  4. ScienceDirect® – Safety and efficacy of Vagus Nerve Stimulation in treatment-resistant depression. A systematic review
  5. Springer Nature – Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin
  6. Springer Nature – Stimulation of the vagus nerve attenuates macrophage activation by activating the Jak2-STAT3 signaling pathway
  7. American Association for the Advancement of Science – Acetylcholine-Synthesizing T Cells Relay Neural Signals in a Vagus Nerve Circuit
  8. ScienceDirect – Anti-inflammatory effect of vagus nerve stimulation in a rat model of inflammatory bowel disease
  9. PNAS – Vagus nerve stimulation inhibits cytokine production and attenuates disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis
  10. The Physiological Society – Anti‐inflammatory properties of the vagus nerve: potential therapeutic implications of vagus nerve stimulation
  11. Clinical Medicine Insights: Gastroenterology – Bioelectrical Stimulation for the Reduction of Inflammation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  12. CES Ultra – The Role of CES in Fighting Inflammation
  13. CES Ultra – Non-Drug Relief From Anxiety.

Last Modified: December 31, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving is here, so our minds have turned
To what time has taught us, to what we’ve learned:
We often focus all our thought
On shiny things we’ve shopped and bought.
We take our pleasure in material things,
Forgetting the pleasure that friendship brings.
If a lot of our stuff just vanished today,
We’d see the foundation of each happy day
Is special relationships, constant and true,
And that’s when our thoughts go directly to you.

We wish you a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget,
Full of love and joy—your best one yet!

Focus Factor Side Effects

Focus Factor® bottle, not equal to symbol, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts
Focus Factor® bottle, not equal to symbol, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts

Focus Factor is a memory booster that provides supplemental nutrition to help you feel sharper and more alert.

The ingredients of Focus Factor are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, potassium, diemethylaminoethanol, L glutamine, bacopin, L-pyroglutamic acid, phosphatidylsering, docosahexanoic acid concentrate, choline, inositol, N acetyltyrosine, bilberry fruit, GABA, Activin, vinpocetine, trace lyte, huperzine A, boron, vanadium and grape skin extract. According to the official website, Focus Factor is, America’s #1 brain health supplement.

The suggested use on the package lists Focus Factor as a dietary supplement. Recall how many vitamins it has. TOO MUCH OF ANY VITAMIN CAN CAUSE TOXICITY. Common signs of this condition include: A sudden fever, low blood pressure, HEADACHE, muscle aches, confusion, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.

There are reports it causes headaches, as well as other side effects, when you read through the customer feedback posted online. Plus, there is no detail about the cited clinical study that supports its claims.

Before going for company-produced boosters, try what Mother Nature provides you. Balance in our diet is essential to balancing our systems.

Balance: Key To Optimal Health And Well-Being

Balance is the key to optimal health and well-being. Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is one way to balance the neuro-chemical and hormonal processes of your physiology. CES is a non-invasive, non pharmaceutical way to achieve higher cognitive function, by using your body’s natural systems, without side effects. CES uses an extremely low frequency electrical current to coax or engage parts of the human system, responsible for rebalancing neuro-chemical and hormonal function. CES Ultra is a CES device, designed specifically for these purposes.

CES Ultra works by stimulating the limbic system and the Vagus nerve. This CES process is both safe and effective for treating insomnia, anxiety, depression, and the repercussion of lessened cognitive function, due to a debilitating nature:

  • The better we sleep the sharper our mental acuity
  • The less depressed we are the more our awareness remains in the moment
  • The less anxious we are the more pertinent information we can retain.

Learn more about the science behind CES and the CES Ultra device.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299

Citations

Last Modified: December 31, 2019

Kids on Drugs ( Thanks to Parents and Doctors) – part 2

Part 2: How CES, the Drug Free Alternative, Can Make a Difference

Part 1

One Parent’s Experience

CES Ultra Improves Sleep, Reduces Anxiety, Irritability, and Depression in 14-year-old Male

We’ve been doing a trial with the CES Ultra the past week. The subject was DS*, our 14 year old with diagnosed insomnia, anxiety, and depression. He used the unit for 20 minutes per day, at bedtime.

I would rate the improvement in apparent anxiety and depression to be significant. Anxieties are no longer a major topic of discussion. DS is starting to leave the house on his own for activities other than school. He’s walked outside for exercise many days since starting the program. Last night he performed with his school orchestra and said he didn’t feel strung out about it like he usually has in the past. He settled down well afterwards, which is a first.

Insomnia has shown moderate improvement. We had hoped for more improvement in that department, but perhaps we will see this continue over a longer term. DS does like to use it at bedtime, finds it easier to fall asleep. He is no longer asking for a prescription for sleeping pills. But still some early-morning wakening, etc.

My DH and I find our son more talkative, less defensive, and quite a bit more mellow in the past week. That is something we have not seen for a long time. Irritability has been markedly decreased … now closer to normal teenage irritability than what we endured before. I suspect the reduced anxiety and reduced depression are contributing to the mellower kid.

Side effects: DS feels dozy after using it. Would not do a treatment just before driver’s ed. No negative side effects otherwise noted.

Our family gives CES an “A” grade and a “thumbs up.” The unit’s positive effect on our anxious, depressed, irritable, insomniac teen has taken a lot of stress off of the entire family. And I must add, finding a psych doc who gave us a free (with consult) week-long trial period on the device was very helpful before making the full investment in purchase, which we plan to do.

* (For the sake of privacy, identities are withheld.)

Brief Research Study

Smith, Ray B., McCusker, Charles F., Jones, Ruth G., and Goates, Delbert T.  The use of cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the treatment of stress related attention deficit disorder, with an eighteen month follow up. Unpublished, 1991 and follow-up in 1993.

This study compared the effects of 3 randomly assigned CES devices which had marked differences in electrical stimulation parameters, in the treatment of stress related attention deficit disorder in 23 children and adults, 9 males, 14 females, 9 – 56 years old (average 30.96) with an average education level of 10.56 years. All had been diagnosed as having generalized anxiety disorder (61%), and/or depression (45%), and/or dysthymia (17%). 8 had a primary diagnosis of ADD. CES treatments were given daily, 45 minutes per day for 3 weeks. All 3 CES devices were equally effective based on Duncan’s Range test in significantly (P<.001) reducing depression as measured on the IPAT depression scale (mean of 19.38 ± 8.44 pretest to 13.19 ± 7.00 post test), state and trait anxiety scales of the STAI (mean state anxiety was reduced from 39.95 ± 11.78 pretest to 29.76 ± 6.99 post test, and the mean trait anxiety was reduced from 43.90 ± 11.31 pretest to 32.19 ± 7.50 post test), and in increasing the Verbal pretest (mean of 99.38 ± 13.20 to post test of 107.50 ± 14.13), Performance (mean of 107.4 ± 15.05 to 126.6 ± 14.2 ), and Full Scale I.Q. scores on the WISC-R or WAIS-R IQ tests (mean of 103.2 ± 13.7 to 117.6 ± 14.28). The authors concluded that in the unlikely event that our findings are the results of placebo effect alone, a CES device, retailing at approximately $795, would still be a relatively inexpensive and apparently reliable treatment for such a debilitating disorder as stress related ADD. On 18 month follow up, the pts performed as well or better than in the original study, the Full Scale IQ had not moved significantly from where it was after the first 3 weeks of treatment, the Performance IQ fell back slightly, while the Verbal IQ continued to increase. There did not seem to be any pattern of addiction to or over dependence on the CES device. There was no side effects except for 1 pt who cried during treatments, and 1 who was sore behind the ears when the electrode gel began drying out.

The cornerstone tenet of medicine is “Do no harm.” Don’t you owe it to your child to try a safe, effective, non-invasive approach before turning to drugs? Consider the CES Ultra.

Another Therapist Reports: CES Intervention Diffuses Anger, Decreases Hyper-Irritability, & Improves Health of 21-year-old Female College Student after Other Therapies Fail.

Balancing the Brain or Cranial Electrical Stimulation With Bob Beck’s Brain Tuner & Bio-Tuner

Blue-Colored Electric Torpedo Fish (Electric Ray) Underwater
Blue-Colored Electric Torpedo Fish or Electric Ray Underwater

Electro-therapy got its start during the days of the Roman Empire when Greek physicians had their patients stand on electric torpedo fish as a step to improve health in the first century AD. Scribonius Largus wrote: For any type of gout a live black torpedo should, when the pain begins, be placed under the feet … in this way Anteros, a freeman of Tiberius, was cured. … Headache even if it is chronic and unbearable is taken away and remedied forever by a live black torpedo placed on the spot which is in pain, until the pain ceases. And Claudius Galen wrote: Therefore I thought that the torpedo should be applied alive to the person who has the headache, … and could free the patient from pain … this I found to be so.

Electricity was harnessed for healing as early as 1747. A professor of experimental philosophy and mathematics in Geneva restored life to the paralyzed arm of a blacksmith using an electric current. Electricity was soon recognized as being a natural part of the life force. It was used extensively for healing until the early part of the 20th Century and the advent of the pharmaceutical industry.

In the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, there are several models of early devices used to bring about healing by applying electrical stimulation to the brain. In modern times, research started as early as 1903 to help with insomnia. This research was known first as Electro-sleep and later as more applications were discovered the term Cranial Electrical Stimulation or CES was used.

Robert (Bob) C. Beck, D.Sc. conducted brain research and developed an improved EEG to read brain wave patterns in the 1970’s. When he read in 1983 about Dr. Meg Patterson’s success in helping rock star Peter Townshend overcome his drug addiction using a Black Box Brain Tuner he contacted her. These two research pioneers enjoyed several meetings. Patterson was committed to a large corporation so Bob Beck decided to develop his own Brain Tuner. With Bob’s genius, he was able to develop a unit that emitted all the key frequencies simultaneously. These frequencies include a special healing frequency Bob discovered from Russian researchers.

Bob Beck won the John Fetzer Foundation pioneering award for scientific achievement in 1990 for his brain research. His investigation into the workings of the brain and/or his Brain Tuner are included in at least three books:

  1. Superlearning 2000, Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder, 1994. ISBN-10: 0–440–22388–1 The implications of this work are stunning, said physicist Bob Beck, the expert on electromagnetic fields, long employed as a consultant to the Department of Defense. Beck, a close friend of Meg Patterson, was soon swept into an adventure of discovery. He studied all her research and everything he could uncover in the Defense Department. Working with spectrum analyzers and sophisticated equipment, he came up with a device: the Brain Tuner 5+, which broadcasts the frequencies of the three ‘magic’ ranges of neurotransmitters—enkephalins, catecholamines, and betaendorphins. He set up the frequencies in bundles. Instead of sounding one for each neurotransmitter separately, he put 256 frequencies together like a resonating chord of music. His device, smaller than a Walkman, runs on a 9–volt battery and is safe. The Brain Tuner has electrodes on a stethoscope–like headset that fit in the hollows behind the ears. Acupuncture points behind the ear effectively circulate electrostimulation on the ‘Triple Warmer’ Meridian. You wear the device just twenty minutes a day.Double–blind studies were done at the University of Wisconsin on the BT 5+’s capabilities to overcome drug–withdrawal symptoms and it did the job. Studies at both Wisconsin and the University of Louisiana showed it could boost IQ from twenty to thirty points. BT 5+ stimulation appears to enhance neural efficiency, researchers stated.Users report the BT 5+ reduces stress, improves short and long term memory, helps learning, increases energy, improves concentration and reduces pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep requirements.
  2. Mega Brain Power, Michael Hutchison, 1994. ISBN-10: 1–56282–770–7 Beth was given anesthesia when she gave birth to her first baby and later found that she had lost part of her memory. She was forced to give up her job in an aerospace plant. Years later a friend gave her a small cranial electrostimulation (CES) device and she began using it. Almost overnight, she said, all my memories started coming back, including everyone’s telephone extensions at the plant. It was uncanny — all these old extension numbers of people I hadn’t thought of in years. This story, told to me by researcher Bob Beck, Ph.D., provides graphic evidence of a key fact: We have the electric–powered brains. Each of the billions of neurons in our brains is a tiny electrical generator, as complex as a small computer, firing an electrical signal that triggers the release of various neurochemicals and links it with thousands of other neurons. The Brain Tuner (BT-6) was devised by Dr. Bob Beck. It uses a complex waveform that, according to Beck, produces over 250 frequency harmonics simultaneously—”all known beneficial frequencies for the natural stimulation of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Since addiction, withdrawal, and anhedonia are the result of insufficient levels of certain brain chemicals, or undeveloped pleasure centers and pleasure pathways, the most direct way of eliminating them is to restore optimal levels of the brain chemicals, to stimulate the pleasure centers and pleasure pathways. One of the most exciting breakthroughs in the treatment of addiction has been the discovery that stimulating the brain with a minuscule electrical current (cranial electrostimulation, or CES) can cause the brain quickly to pour out large quantities of the neurochemicals that have been suppressed by addictive substances.

    As electrotherapy researcher Bob Beck described it to me, this was originally discovered when scientists analyzed the brains of rats that had been addicted to opiates: The rats that were addicted had been getting so much opiate that the little endorphin factories in the brain would shut down and say, Look, our body’s got too much of this. Quit manufacturing it. And it would take anywhere from a week to three weeks before their rats’ brains would begin manufacturing beta–endorphin again. Whereas in the brains of the control rats that had never been addicted, you would find the normal, expected levels of beta–endorphin. And then they would take a third group of addicted rats, cold turkey cut them off of the heroin, clip little electrodes to their ears, and within 20 minutes of electrical stimulation … the rat brain would start showing that the endorphin production had started up again. So, those rats wouldn’t go through withdrawal symptoms!

    This evidence quickly led to the use of CES in the treatment of humans.

  3. Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, James L. Oschman, 2000. ISBN-10: 0–443–06261–7

If the therapist relaxes into the state of consciousness typical of those who practice meditation, therapeutic touch and QiGong, and other methods, it is likely that his or her brain waves will, from time to time, become entrained with the micropulsations of the earth’s field. If the patient is also relaxed, both therapist and patient may become entrained with the earth’s field. There is remarkable documentation for this concept. In 1969, Robert C. Beck began a decade of research on the brain wave activity of ‘healers’ from a wide variety of subcultures around the world (Beck 1986). Beck recorded their electrical brain waves with an electroencephalograph (EEG). All the healers produced similar brain wave patterns when they were in their ‘altered state’ and performing a ‘healing’. Whatever their beliefs and customs were, all healers registered brain wave activity averaging about 7.8–8.0 cycles/second while they were in their ‘healing’ state. Beck studied exceptional individuals who were famous or who had developed reputations as healers, psychics, shamans or dowsers.

Beck performed additional studies on some of the subjects and found that during the healing moments their brain waves became phase and frequency synchronized with the earth’s geoelectric micropulsations—the Schumann resonance.

(Beck R 1986 Mood modification with ELF magnetic fields: a preliminary exploration. Archaeus 4:48)

Bob Beck’s first Brain Tuner was called the BT5. A later model was called the BT6. The Beck Brain Tuner is now available from SOTA Instruments, Inc. as the Bio Tuner Model BT9.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulated and Registered

Note that the Bio Tuner Model BT9 is not an FDA regulated and registered Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) device; it has no allowable medical claims. Contrast the Model BT9 with the CES Ultra, which is an FDA regulated and registered CES device for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Learn more about the benefits of the CES Ultra device.

Get Your Own CES Ultra for only $299

Citations

Last Modified: December 31, 2019