Stimulating the vagus nerve could relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in some people.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients receiving stimulation of the vagus nerve showed “robust” responses in a recent study, researchers report.
Implanting a device to stimulate the vagus nerve helped patients improve significantly during a recent study conducted at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by the immune system attacking the joints. Although the cause of the condition is unknown, the goal of treatment is to stop inflammation, which relieves symptoms, prevents worse damage and reduces long-term complications.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and SetPoint Medical tested whether stimulating the inflammatory reflex directly, using an implanted device, could reduce symptoms.
While it had worked before in studies with animals, the method’s success in the recent small study suggests it could be effective for humans — and that the concept may be useful for other inflammatory diseases.
“This is a real breakthrough in our ability to help people suffering from inflammatory diseases,” Dr. Kevin Tracey, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, said in a press release. “While we’ve previously studied animal models of inflammation, until now we had no proof that electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve can indeed inhibit cytokine production and reduce disease severity in humans. I believe this study will change the way we see modern medicine, helping us understand that our nerves can, with a little help, make the drugs that we need to help our body heal itself.”
|Read Full Article: Vagus nerve stimulation may help reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms – UPI.com|