Neck zapping gadget reduces nighttime fatigue in new research

Instead of drinking coffee while working in the graveyard, one day employees may wear an electric razor-sized device around their neck. A few minutes later, they were refreshed from this experience and woke up, saying, “Vagus nerve break. “

A device called the gamma core sends a series of vibration bursts of low-voltage electricity, each lasting milliseconds and sending to the side of the neck. It is for stimulating a part of the vagus nerve. Connector that connects the brain and body, Causes the release of awakening chemicals.

After scientists contracted with the Air Force pointed out that participants who placed electrodes on their scalp to supply electrical current were able to reduce fatigue and improve the performance of attention tasks. Research has begun on how people wake up and call attention with electricity. Recreating this setup outside the lab is not easy, but if possible, a replacement for caffeine or amphetamine stimulants (also known as “gopills”) that are still prescribed to U.S. Air Force soldiers. There is a possibility that

Researchers looking for a more direct, side-effect-free solution came to the vagus nerve. Surgical implant Nerve-stimulating drugs are used to prevent seizures in patients with epilepsy. Since 1988And some of these patients have found that implants have helped manage headaches and pain. Other studies have found that implantation of vagus nerve stimulation improves memory and cognition in both humans and animals.

New research confirms that handheld vagal nerve stimulation does what scientists thought: gammaCore helped members of the Air Force Improves performance and reduces fatigue When you stay up all night.The research results were published in the journal today. Communication biology..

Gamma core device. Credit: electroCore, Inc.

Many thought that stimulating the vagus nerve without the use of needles or surgery was impossible until the technology was invented 10 years ago, the chief medical officer of a company that manufactures gamma cores called electrocores. According to government and co-founder Peter Starts. A portable device that works by touching a conductive gel on the surface of the skin and was first approved in 2017 for the treatment of adult swarm headaches. Asthma exacerbated by COVID-19 in adults.The device is Once prescribed, it is covered by several major pharmacy benefits managers. Its list price is $ 1,750, but the company says it’s currently offering it to all its customers for $ 1,250. (A spokeswoman for electroCore said the latest model could be as low as $ 399 after three months of treatment.)

Vagus nerve stimulation is a popular target for bioelectronics because of the direct link between nerves and many organs in the body. Stephen Silverstein, a professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University and director of the Jefferson Headache Center, compares the vagus nerve to major transportation hubs such as Grand Central Station in New York City. The metropolitan area. Similarly, different types of fibers move to different locations, such as a part of the brain called the locus coeruleus.There, the brain produces Norepinephrine, A fight-or-flight chemical that enhances alertness and reduces pain and fatigue.

In this study, researchers observed 40 active duty soldiers at an air base awake for 34 hours, during which time they completed cognitive tests and reported mood and fatigue levels. Half of the participants used gammaCore for 8 minutes immediately after the start of the test, and the other half gave a fake device that looked and felt real but did not supply current. The group in the group with real vagal stimulation reported closer to baseline performance as the night went on and less fatigue over time than the other groups.

“It’s exciting for us to feel that not only performance has improved, but performance has improved and fatigue has been reduced,” said the study’s co-author and Air Force biomedical engineer. Richard McKinley says. Laboratory. He states that improved mood and energy levels could lead soldiers to use such devices outside of paid research.

The two groups showed similar performance over time in some parts of the cognitive test, but hours later, participants using gamma core captured audio, visual, or other types of information. Showed that there is less performance degradation for perceptual tasks to integrate.

Past studies on gammaCore and vagus nerve stimulation have targeted patients with chronic and often debilitating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, and epilepsy. This new study leads the use of this treatment in healthy people to improve performance, says Starts and the study’s authors.

“Most of what we do in Western medicine is trying to help people who are already ill,” says Starts. “Reduces the effort of thinking about health care and’how to avoid the onset of illness?’, Or” how do we optimize ourselves? “

According to Silverstein, who did not participate in the study, the device could help a wide range of people with sleep deprivation, from Air Force pilots to doctors to last-minute treatise college students.

Another group that could benefit from this study is astronauts. Lindsay McIntyre, lead author of the paper and scientist at defense contractor Infoscitex, said NASA is part of the research funding because astronauts often sleep in extreme and unfamiliar environments, preventing a good night’s sleep. By finding a long-term solution to fatigue, people can be happier and healthier and more focused on their work in space.

Associate Professor Eric Chan, an assistant professor at The Feinstein Institutes of Medicine, did not participate in the study, but the findings show that participants who have not been sleep deprived for 34 consecutive hours. States that it may not be generalized. He adds that this study reports “specific small results” that are consistent with other studies of vagus nerve stimulation.

McIntyre points out that the performance difference between the gamma core group and the placebo group may seem small, such as in multitasking tests, but it makes a lot of sense. , Group performance dropped to 15%. [the placebo group]”It’s a mistake. In certain areas, such as medical, military, and transportation, it can be life-threatening.” The authors investigate the effects on people with mild sleep deprivation. We are also planning research to do so.

McKinley says future research needs to be done, including testing against caffeine and other traditional stimulants, before recommending gamma core to soldiers and workers for off-label use. Adds that parallel studies in animals have reaffirmed the mechanism of effect and are also preparing to submit studies on vagal maneuver to increase learning rate and retention.

GammaCore invented a relatively new field. Bioelectrical medicine, A discipline that uses electricity to break into the body’s signaling system and treat illness. Bioelectronics is promising for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus via vagal nerve stimulation. Fatigue, Pain, Inflammation — Future “vagal damage” can target them all. Neck zapping gadget reduces nighttime fatigue in new research

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