Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Modulates EEG

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Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Modulates EEG Microstates and Delta Activity in Healthy Subjects.

Abstract
Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) is an alternative non-invasive method for the electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve with the goal of treating several neuropsychiatric disorders. The objective of this study is to assess the effects of tVNS on cerebral cortex activity in healthy volunteers using resting-state microstates and power spectrum electroencephalography (EEG) analysis. Eight male subjects aged 25-45 years were recruited in this randomized sham-controlled double-blind study with cross-over design. Real tVNS was administered at the left external acoustic meatus, while sham stimulation was performed at the left ear lobe, both of them for 60 min. The EEG recording lasted 5 min and was performed before and 60 min following the tVNS experimental session. We observed that real tVNS induced an increase in the metrics of microstate A mean duration (p = 0.039) and an increase in EEG power spectrum activity in the delta frequency band (p < 0.01). This study confirms that tVNS is an effective way to stimulate the vagus nerve, and the mechanisms of action of this activation can be successfully studied using scalp EEG quantitative metrics. Future studies are warranted to explore the clinical implications of these findings and to focus the research of the prognostic biomarkers of tVNS therapy for neuropsychiatric diseases.

PMID: 32992726 [PubMed]

Brain Sci. 2020 Sep 25;10(10):

Authors: Ricci L, Croce P, Lanzone J, Boscarino M, Zappasodi F, Tombini M, Di Lazzaro V, Assenza G

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