23 Jul '16, 6am

Scientists Discover How Vagus Nerve Stimulation Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis

By selectively stimulating nerve fibers running from the brain to the spleen with electricity, researchers have successfully treated a small group of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Importantly, the team showed the exact mechanism by which the procedure works: Vagus nerve stimulation activates immune system cells to inhibit the production of key inflammatory proteins, called cytokines, implicated in the disease. “We wanted to know if we could selectively block cytokines in humans with electrons. The answer is yes,” says study co-author Kevin Tracey , president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York and co-founder of SetPoint Medical Corporation , which funded the study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . “We began with the mechanism and ended with the mechanism.” Using mild pulses of electricity to ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/...

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