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The present study investigated the effects of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation on cardiac vagal activity, the activity of the vagus nerve regulating cardiac functioning. We applied stimulation on the left cymba conchae and tested the effects of different stimulation intensities on a vagally-mediated heart rate variability pagerameter (i.e., the root mean square of successive differences) as well as on subjective ratings of strength of perceived stimulation intensity and unpleasantness due to the stimulation. Three experiments (within-subject designs, M = 61 healthy participants each) were carried out: In Experiment 1, to choose one fixed stimulation intensity for the subsequent studies, we compared three preset stimulation intensities (i.e., 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 mA) with each other. In Experiment 2, we compared the set stimulation method with the free stimulation method, in which the participants were instructed to freely choose an intensity. In Experiment 3, to control for placebo effects, we compared both methods (i.e., set stimulation vs. free stimulation) with their respective sham stimulations. In the three experiments, an increase of cardiac vagal activity was found from resting to the stimulation phases. However, this increase in cardiac vagal activity was not dependent on stimulation intensity (Experiment 1), the method used to stimulate (i.e., set vs. free; Experiment 2), or whether stimulation was active or sham (Experiment 3). This pattern of results was solidly supported by Bayesian estimations. On the subjective level, higher stimulation intensities were perceived as significantly stronger and a stronger stimulation was generally also perceived as more unpleasant. The results suggest that cardiac vagal activity may be similarly influenced by afferent vagal stimuli triggered by active and sham stimulation with different stimulation intensities. Potential explanations for these findings and its implications for future research with tVNS are discussed.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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An adjunctive treatment for PARTIAL EPILEPSY and refractory DEPRESSION that delivers electrical impulses to the brain via the VAGUS NERVE. A battery implanted under the skin supplies the energy.
Traumatic injuries to the VAGUS NERVE. Because the vagus nerve innervates multiple organs, injuries in the nerve fibers may result in any gastrointestinal organ dysfunction downstream of the injury site.
The use of specifically placed small electrodes to deliver electrical impulses across the SKIN to relieve PAIN. It is used less frequently to produce ANESTHESIA.
The 10th cranial nerve. The vagus is a mixed nerve which contains somatic afferents (from skin in back of the ear and the external auditory meatus), visceral afferents (from the pharynx, larynx, thorax, and abdomen), parasympathetic efferents (to the thorax and abdomen), and efferents to striated muscle (of the larynx and pharynx).
The inferior (caudal) ganglion of the vagus (10th cranial) nerve. The unipolar nodose ganglion cells are sensory cells with central projections to the medulla and peripheral processes traveling in various branches of the vagus nerve.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) Blood Cardiovascular Dialysis Hypertension Stent Stroke Vascular Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes all the diseases of the heart and circulation including coronary heart disease (angina...