Motor-activated auricular vagus nerve stimulation for neurorehabilitation.

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Design and validation of a closed-loop, motor-activated auricular vagus nerve stimulation (MAAVNS) system for neurorehabilitation.

BACKGROUND: Studies have found that pairing vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) with motor activity accelerates cortical reorganization. This synchronous pairing may enhance motor recovery.
OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a motor-activated auricular vagus nerve stimulation (MAAVNS) system as a potential neurorehabilitation tool.
METHODS: We created MAAVNS and validated its function as part of an ongoing clinical trial investigating whether taVNS-paired rehabilitation enhances oromotor learning. We compared 3 different MAAVNS EMG electrode configurations in 3 neonates. The active lead was placed over the buccinator muscle. Reference lead placements were orbital, temporal or frontal.
RESULTS: The frontal reference lead produced the highest sensitivity (0.87 ± 0.07 (n = 8)) and specificity (0.64 ± 0.13 (n = 8)). Oral sucking reliably triggers MAAVNS stimulation with high confidence.
CONCLUSION: EMG electrodes placed on target orofacial muscles can effectively trigger taVNS stimuli in infants in a closed loop fashion.

PMID: 32289710 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Brain Stimul. 2020 Feb 27;13(3):800-803

Authors: Cook DN, Thompson S, Stomberg-Firestein S, Bikson M, George MS, Jenkins DD, Badran BW