Sunday, 20 August 2017

Transcutaneous auricular vagal nerve stimulation (taVNS) might be a mechanism behind the analgesic effects of auricular acupuncture

Brain Stimul. 2017 Aug 2. pii: S1935-861X(17)30853-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2017.07.013. [Epub ahead of print] Usichenko T1, Hacker H2, Lotze M3. Author information 1 Department of Anesthesiology, University Medicine of Greifswald, Germany; Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. Electronic address: 2 Department of Anesthesiology, University Medicine of Greifswald, Germany. 3 Functional Imaging Unit, Diagnostic Radiology, University Medicine Greifswald, Germany. Abstract BACKGROUND: Randomized clinical trials (RCT) demonstrated that auricular acupuncture (AA) is effective in treatment of acute and chronic pain, although the mechanisms behind AA are not elucidated. METHODS: The data concerning the localization of AA points, which are commonly used to treat pain, were extracted from the meta-analysis of 17 RCTs and evaluated using the anatomical map of auricular afferent nerve supply. RESULTS: Fifteen out of 20 specific AA points, used in the treatment of pain, are situated in areas innervated mostly by the auricular branch of the vagal nerve (ABVN), whereas sham stimulation was applied at the helix of the auricle, innervated by cervical nerves. CONCLUSION: Considering the clinical data relating to the anatomy of neural pathways and experimental findings of the mechanisms of transcutaneous auricular vagal nerve stimulation, the analgesic effects of AA may be explained by stimulation of ABVN. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. KEYWORDS: Auricular acupuncture; Cranial nerves; Non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation PMID: 28803834 DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2017.07.013 Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Google+