Also, new studies point to electrical brain stimulation to alleviate depression, which I would assume is another debilitating condition after one suffers a stroke. So, maybe, they should merge these two studies together and tackle two problems at once. Although, I would hope they could stimulate the vagus nerve without having to surgically implant any device.
Quote:“Sometimes the antidepressant drugs work in concert with the stimulator, but it appears to us that when people get better, it is the vagus nerve stimulator that is doing the heavy lifting,” Conway explains. “Stimulation seems to be responsible for most of the improvement we see.”
Furthermore, the PET scans showed that structures deeper in the brain also begin to change several months after nerve stimulation begins. Many of those structures have high concentrations of brain cells that release dopamine.
There is growing evidence that problems in dopamine pathways may be especially important in treatment-resistant depression, said Conway.
The finding that vagus nerve stimulators influence those pathways may explain why the therapy can help and why, when it does work, its effects are long-lasting. Patients who respond to vagus nerve stimulation tend to get better and to stay better.
“We hypothesized that something significant had to be occurring in the brain, and our research seems to back that up,” he said.