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Researchers discover how to better record vagus nerve signals

Manhasset, New York
Saturday, March 17, 2018, 15:00 Hrs  [IST]

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research scientists Harold A Silverman, PhD,  Sangeeta S. Chavan, PhD, and their colleagues standardized an experimental protocol to record signals transmitted in the vagus nerve. These findings, published in Bioelectronic Medicine, are important because the vagus nerve is critical in regulating inflammation. They also expand knowledge in bioelectronic medicine, a nascent field that uses technology to treat disease and injury.

The vagus nerve is a nerve in the neck that connects to every major organ in the body and communicates changes in the body to the brainstem, including infection and inflammation. Signals transmitted in the vagus nerve in an “inflammatory reflex” prevent diseases like sepsis, lupus, hypertension, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Mapping the signals transmitted in the vagus nerve will help to identify neural pathways regulating these diseases, and develop novel bioelectronic medicine technologies that can be applied to treat disease and injury without the use of pharmaceuticals or experiencing significant side effects.

“We know from our previous studies that electrically stimulating the vagus nerve inhibits immune responses associated with different diseases,” said Dr. Chavan, co-corresponding author of the paper, associate professor at the Feinstein Institute and associate professor of molecular medicine at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. “In this study, we establish methods to record these signals transmitted in the vagus nerve.”

Drs. Silverman, Chavan, and their colleagues, detailed in findings that they developed an electrophysiological recording system to record compound action potentials from the vagus nerve in mice.

“Our new methodology allows us to begin developing ways to decode the nervous system in such a way that we better understand how to detect and regulate inflammation,” said Dr. Silverman. “We can use this new understanding to develop devices that simultaneously diagnose and treat disease.”

To read the data published in Bioelectronic Medicine, click the following link: https://bioelecmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42234-018-0002-y. Bioelectronic Medicine is an open-access, international, peer-reviewed journal, which is now disseminated by BioMed Central (BMC), part of Springer Nature. The Feinstein Institute recently partnered with BMC to disseminate Bioelectronic Medicine and Molecular Medicine. Molecular Medicine is an open-access journal that publishes manuscripts containing material relevant to the genetic, molecular, or cellular basis of key physiologic or disease processes. Molecular Medicine also supports the annual Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine with the Feinstein Institute.

“The collaboration with Springer Nature provides a strong platform to effectively publish Bioelectronic Medicine and Molecular Medicine,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute and editor-in-chief of Bioelectronic Medicine. “The publication of scientific papers is a critical step in spreading knowledge that influences medical and research communities across the globe. It is an early step in the discovery process to help future patients.”

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine.


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