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International Journal of Global Health

Current Issue Volume No: 2 Issue No: 1

ISSN: 2693-1176
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Short Communication Open Access
  • Available online freely Peer Reviewed
  • Provisional

    Is Vagus Nerve Therapy a Potential Alzheimer's Disease Treatment?

    Raul Isea 1  

    1Fundación IDEA, Hoyo de la Puerta, Baruta, Venezuela

    Abstract

    A potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease is vagus nerve therapy, which has been made possible by considerable advances in neuroscience. An essential component of the autonomic nervous system, the vagus nerve regulates memory, inflammation, and cognition. Researchers hope to delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease and improve cognitive function by implanting a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS). Alzheimer's patients have higher heart rate variability, according to an ECG study, which may be advantageous. To completely grasp its mechanics and long-term effectiveness, more research is necessary.

    Author Contributions
    Received 01 Dec 2023; Accepted 15 Dec 2023; Published 27 Dec 2023;

    Academic Editor: Ian James Martins, EdithCowan University.

    Checked for plagiarism: Yes

    Review by: Single-blind

    Copyright © 2023 Raul Isea.

    License
    Creative Commons License     This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    Competing interests

    The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

    Citation:

    Raul Isea (2023) Is Vagus Nerve Therapy a Potential Alzheimer's Disease Treatment?. International Journal of Global Health - 2(1):40-42.

    Download as RIS, BibTeX, Text (Include abstract )

    DOI 10.14302/issn.2693-1176.ijgh-23-4854

    Introduction

    In recent years, the field of neuroscience has made significant progress in understanding the complex nature of Alzheimer's disease 1, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide 8. A multitude of research studies have sought to uncover potential therapeutic approaches to combat this debilitating condition 3, 9. One emerging area of interest is vagus nerve therapy 2, 5, 15, a promising treatment that harnesses the power of the vagus nerve to mitigate the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease 6, 14.

    Moreover, 6 emphasize that the vagus nerve, which serves as an essential conduit between the brain and internal organs, has demonstrated promise in the treatment of a number of brain disorders, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.

    Remembering the vagus nerve, also known as the tenth cranial nerve 4, plays a crucial role in the autonomic nervous system, which regulates various bodily functions, such as heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rhythm. It is a major communication highway between the brain and the body, connecting the central nervous system to widespread organ systems 2. Furthermore, it has been increasingly implicated in modulating inflammation, cognition, and memory, making it an intriguing target for therapeutic interventions in Alzheimer's disease 16.

    The method of vagus nerve therapy involves the implantation of a device called a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) into the patient's body 10. This device delivers gentle electrical pulses to the vagus nerve, thereby modulating its activity and influencing the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. These pulses prompt the release of acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning processes that are impaired in Alzheimer's disease. By enhancing the release of acetylcholine, vagus nerve therapy aims to improve cognitive function and slow down the progression of Alzheimer's 11, 12, 15.

    To evaluate the effects of vagus nerve therapy on Alzheimer's patients, researchers have turned to the use of electrocardiograms (ECGs), a non-invasive tool that measures the electrical activity of the heart 11, 12. ECG analysis can provide valuable insights into autonomic nervous system activity, making it an ideal method to assess the impact of VNS on the vagus nerve's modulation of heart rate variability.

    Studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients treated with VNS exhibit increased heart rate variability, indicative of improved autonomic function. This suggests that vagus nerve therapy may have a positive impact on the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease. However, more study is required to monitor the advantages and disadvantages of employing electrocardiogram (ECG) analysis to track the effects of vagus nerve therapy on individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

    Moreover, researchers have observed that vagus nerve therapy can lead to reduced inflammation in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease 14. Chronic inflammation is known to contribute to the progression of the disease, causing neuronal damage and impairing cognitive function 7. By modulating the vagus nerve, VNS can help regulate the inflammatory response and potentially halt the neurodegenerative process.

    While vagus nerve therapy shows great promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease, it is important to acknowledge that further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and long-term efficacy. However, the convergence of neuroscience, ECG analysis, and vagus nerve therapy presents a unique opportunity to revolutionize the management of Alzheimer's disease.

    Future research has shown a great deal of interest in non-pharmacological alternatives, such as electrical stimulation, which is primarily used as an adjunct therapy. VNS is a neuromodulation technique that involves subcutaneous generator implantation through invasive surgery to directly stimulate the left cervical vagus nerve electrically. Similar to VNS used in Parkinson disease, implantable VNS sends sporadic electrical currents through a wire encircling the vagus nerve 13.

    Conclusion

    A few research papers cited in this manuscript suggest that vagus nerve therapy is a new and possibly useful treatment for Alzheimer's disease. It is vital to monitor the effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) with electrocardiogram analysis in order to confirm that the treatment reduced inflammation and enhanced cognitive function. In fact, numerous neuropsychiatric and systemic disorders can be treated with vagus nerve stimulation, a therapy that stimulates the cervical vagus nerve electrically. Expanding our understanding of the vagus nerve's function in Alzheimer's disease creates new opportunities for treatment.

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