Vagus Nerve

A recent article in the journal "Pain Medicine"[1] described the relief of treatment-resistant fibromyalgia via stimulation of the vagus nerve, that long head-to-gut nerve we all have. The small pilot study reported in this article involved 14 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia, who had not responded adequately to treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, tricyclic antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. The patients agreed to surgical implantation with a vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) device and then a two-week stimulation adjustment period during which VNS intensity was increased to deliver the highest tolerable current.  Subjects experienced the same side effects seen with VNS treatment of epilepsy and depression, including voice alteration, neck pain, nausea, shortness of breath, dry mouth, and fatigue. The result was a mix of pain, overall well-being and improved physical function.   All very interesting but a long way from common use.  More information:

[1] DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01203.x