"Through the use of VNS, we are able to use the brain's natural way of changing its neural circuitry and provide specific and long lasting effects." Dr. Navid Khodaparast, a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Khodaparast acknowledged the study has some limitations. For example, the animals were young and lacked some of the other illnesses that accompany an aged human population, such as diabetes or hypertension. But Khodaparast and his colleagues said they are optimistic about vagus nerve stimulation as a future tool. They will continue testing in chronically impaired animals with the hopes of translating the technique for stroke patients. Working with MicroTransponder Inc., a partner company in the current study, researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland have begun a small-scale trial in humans.
"There is strong evidence that VNS can be used safely in stroke patients because of its extensive use in the treatment of other neurological conditions," said Dr. Michael Kilgard, professor in neuroscience at UT Dallas and senior author of the study.
|Contact: Ben Porter|
University of Texas at Dallas