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  • Julie Manley

Vagus Nerve Stimulation the brain pacemaker: A way to enhance stoke recovery?


  • Using an animal model it has been shown that pairing vagus nerve stimulation with a physical therapy task accelerates the recovery of motor skills.

  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is delivered via a small surgically implanted device that uses electrical impulses of varying intensities and pulse widths to activate the vagus nerve.

  • Brief bursts of VNS can strengthen the communication pathways by building stronger cell connections in the brain after a stroke.

  • VNS with rehabilitative training:

  1. Doubles long lasting recovery on a complex task involving forelimb supination

  2. Doubles recovery on a simple motor task that was not paired with VNS

  3. Enhances structural plasticity in motor networks.

  • During each rehab session whenever a patient performs a particular motor skill correctly, the therapist pushes a button to trigger an optimal pulse width and current intensity of the vagus nerve stimulation.

  • The theory is that precise stimulation and accurate movements are re-inforced by a brief burst of VNS during a trial and error learning process, and these actions become “hardwired into the bran more quickly.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-athletes-way/201805/vagus-nerve-stimulation-enhances-brain-plasticity


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