Neurophysiologic effects of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) via electrical stimulation of the tragus: A concurrent taVNS/fMRI study and review. Citation: (Badran 2017)
Since prior studies of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have had inconsistent findings (owing to variability in stimulation targets and parameters), the authors undertook to develop a transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS)/functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) system enabling the comparison of taVNS in relation to control stimulation through concurrent electrical stimulation and fMRI acquisition.
In a single-blind, crossover taVNS/fMRI trial, 17 healthy adults received either left tragus (active) or earlobe (control) stimulation at 500 μs 25 HZ for 60 s (repeated 3 times over 6 min). The conclusion drawn from whole brain fMRI analysis of active stimulation, control stimulation, and comparison, showed that stimulation of the tragus reliably activates cerebral afferent vagal networks, and taVNS is a promising form of VNS for neuromodulation. Read the full paper at Brain Stimulation.
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