Friday, December 6, 2013

Vagal Stimulation for Epilepsy

I came across an interesting study in the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology from last year. The researchers looked at the effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in children with epilepsy.

What they found was that VNS has additional beneficial effects in children with intractable epilepsy. As opposed to anti-epileptic drugs, there are no negative effects on cognition. Moreover, the study observed "an improvement of mood in general and depressed feelings in particular, irrespective of a reduction in seizure frequency. These beneficial effects should be taken into account when deciding whether to initiate or continue VNS treatment in these children.”

Overall, the researchers found the 26% of the participants had a 50% or greater reduction in seizures.

Wow! 

Reduction in seizures of 50% or greater! And no negative side-effects like altered cognition, mood, depression, epilepsy-related restrictions and psychosocial adjustment (which is often the case with epilepsy medications).

All from stimulating the vagus nerve. A pretty amazing component of our physiology!

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