Vagus nerve stimulation 'can help address rheumatoid arthritis symptoms'

6 July 2016

A new study has shown the benefits of using vagus nerve stimulation techniques to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Carried out by the Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam in collaboration with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and SetPoint Medical, the study saw a stimulation device surgically implanted on the vagus nerve of 17 patients.

It was shown that stimulation with the implantable bioelectronic device significantly improved measures of disease activity in a number of patients, including some who had previously failed to respond to any other form of pharmaceutical treatment, while no serious adverse side effects were reported.

This represents a new breakthrough for the technology, which had previously demonstrated benefits for rheumatoid arthritis in animal tests and in vitro models.

Lead researcher Professor Paul-Peter Tak, from the division of clinical immunology and rheumatology at the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, said: "This is the first study to evaluate whether stimulating the inflammatory reflex directly with an implanted electronic device can treat rheumatoid arthritis in humans."

Posted by Philip Briggs

 


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