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Treating Inflammation with Computerized Nerve Stimulation

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Ecoclimber, May 31, 2014.

  1. Ecoclimber

    Ecoclimber Senior Member

    Dr. Kevin Tracey Explains How A Nerve Stimulator Could Change Arthritis Treatment

    and here

    A New Approach to Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Treating Inflammation with Computerized Nerve Stimulation
    By: Ulf Andersson M.D., Ph.D. and Kevin J. Tracey M.D.

    Doctors currently treat rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling autoimmune disease, with an arsenal of drugs that, while often effective, can have serious side effects. Authors Ulf Andersson and Kevin J. Tracey describe a circuit between the immune system and the nervous system that enabled development of an implanted nerve stimulator to treat the disorder, now being tested by a patient in Bosnia.

    If further clinical trials show as much promise as this initial case, similar devices may be developed for a broad range of inflammation-related diseases, from diabetes to congestive heart failure.

    A few months ago one of us (Kevin Tracey) traveled to Mostar, Bosnia, to meet a very special patient, the first to receive a surgically implanted nerve stimulator to treat disabling rheumatoid arthritis.

    Eight weeks earlier, as a volunteer in a research study, the patient underwent a minor surgical procedure during which a neurosurgeon implanted a small pacemaker-like device and attached the electrode to a nerve in his neck.

    This vagus nerve, which runs from the brain, across the chest and thorax, and into the abdomen, sends branches into all of the major organs of the body. The implanted computer began delivering electrical signals that instructed his immune system to stop attacking his joints.
    As a result, after years of incapacitating pain in his hands, wrists, elbows, and legs, he is now in clinical remission. This comeback is remarkable, suggesting for the first time that it may be possible to replace powerful immune system–suppressing drugs with a computerized device to treat crippling inflammatory diseases....

    Click on the link above for the full article.


    1. Rosas-Ballina, M., & Tracey, K. J. (2009). The neurology of the immune system: Neural reflexes regulate immunity. Neuron, 64(1), 28-32.

    2. McInnes, I. B., & Schett, G. (2011). The pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. New England Journal of Medicine, 365(23), 2205-2219.

    3. Andersson, U., & Tracey, K. J. (2011). Reflex principles of immunological homeostasis. Annual Review of Immunology.

    4. Koopman, F. A., Stoof, S. P., Straub, R. H., Van Maanen, M. A., Vervoordeldonk, M. J., & Tak, P. P. (2011). Restoring the balance of the autonomic nervous system as an innovative approach to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Molecular Medicine, 17(9-10), 937-948.

    5. Rosas-Ballina, M., Olofsson, P. S., Ochani, M., Valdes-Ferrer, S. I., Levine, Y. A., Reardon, C., . . . Tracey, K. J. (2011). Acetylcholine-synthesizing T cells relay neural signals in a vagus nerve circuit. Science, 334(6052), 98-101.
    Last edited: May 31, 2014

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