Daily Archives: December 3, 2017

Study shows vagus nerve stimulation significantly reduces rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

This is amazing! Implanting a small bioelectronic device on the Vagus nerve in Rheumatoid arthritic (RA) patients makes markers of inflammation (such as TNF and other cytokines) go down. And not only that, the symptoms of RA are also decreased.

This can be used for other autoimmune and immune diseases as well.

https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/news/study-shows-vagus-nerve-stimulation-significantly-reduces-rheumatoid-arthritis-284383

Clinical trial data published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) demonstrates stimulating the vagus nerve with an implantable bioelectronic device significantly improved measures of disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 1.3 million people in the United States and costs tens of billions of dollars annually to treat. The findings were announced by the Academic Medical Center/University of Amsterdam, the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and SetPoint Medical.

See Also: Neurostimulation: What is being said in the media and academic literature?

The publication highlights a human study designed to reduce symptoms of RA, cytokine levels and inflammation by stimulating the vagus nerve with a small implanted device.

“This is the first study to evaluate whether stimulating the inflammatory reflex directly with an implanted electronic device can treat RA in humans,” said Professor Paul-Peter Tak, MD, PhD, FMedSci, the international principal investigator and lead author of the paper at the Division of Clinical Immunology & Rheumatology of the Academic Medical Center/University of Amsterdam. “We have previously shown that targeting the inflammatory reflex may reduce inflammation in animal models and in vitro models of RA. The direct correlation between vagus nerve stimulation and the suppression of several key cytokines like TNF as well as reduced RA signs and symptoms demonstrates proof of mechanism, which might be relevant for other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases as well.”

“Our findings suggest a new approach to fighting diseases with bioelectronic medicines, which use electrical pulses to treat diseases currently treated with potent and relatively expensive drugs,” said Anthony Arnold, Chief Executive Officer of SetPoint Medical. “These results support our ongoing development of bioelectronic medicines designed to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases and give healthcare providers new and potentially safer treatment alternatives at a much lower total cost for the healthcare system.”

“This is a real breakthrough in our ability to help people suffering from inflammatory diseases,” said co-author Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, discoverer of the inflammatory reflex and co-founder of SetPoint Medical. “While we’ve previously studied animal models of inflammation, until now we had no proof that electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve can indeed inhibit cytokine production and reduce disease severity in humans. I believe this study will change the way we see modern medicine, helping us understand that our nerves can, with a little help, make the drugs that we need to help our body heal itself.”

Learn More: New non-invasive form of vagus nerve stimulation works to treat depression

While focused on rheumatoid arthritis, the trial’s results may have implications for patients suffering from other inflammatory diseases, including Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and others.

Study methodology and results

In the study, a stimulation device was implanted on the vagus nerve during a surgical procedure, then activated and deactivated based on a set schedule to measure response over 84 days, with primary endpoints measured at day 42 using DAS28-CRP, a standard disease activity composite score for RA that includes counts of tender and swollen joints, patient’s and physician’s assessment of disease activity and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

Of 17 patients with active RA in the study, several patients that had failed to respond to multiple therapies, including biologicals with different mechanisms of action, demonstrated robust responses. The findings indicate that active electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve inhibits TNF production in RA patients and significantly attenuates RA disease severity.

Don’t Miss: The neurons in our gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check

Several patients reported significant improvements, including some who had previously failed to respond to any other form of pharmaceutical treatment. In addition, no serious adverse side effects were reported.

The emerging field of bioelectronic medicine aims to target disorders traditionally treated with drugs and instead uses advanced neuromodulation devices that may offer significant advantages. SetPoint is developing a novel proprietary bioelectronic medicine platform to treat a variety of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, using an implanted device to stimulate the vagus nerve.

Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.


Dear Bipolar Disorder

Dear Bipolar Disorder,

We’ve had a relationship for decades now, though it’s one I never chose. To tell the truth, I can’t even remember when we met. Gradually, you just moved in. So I guess we’re stuck as roommates for the rest of my life. You can’t break your lease and I can’t move out. That being said, there are some things I need to talk to you about. We’ve never been friends. We never will be. I have some issues with you; there are compromises we need to make.

I’ll take my meds faithfully, if you keep working with them. By that I mean no major depressions of longer than a week and no panic attacks while I’m trying to sleep.

I’ll pay for those meds, as long as you back off enough to let me keep working and earning money and paying for insurance. Just leave me enough concentration to do that and to read, and I’ll be satisfied.

I won’t go to Chuck E. Cheese or Cici’s Pizza or shopping at a mall anytime after Thanksgiving, if you will let me go out at other times to other places without getting your figurative undies in a bundle.

I will try to minimize the stress in my life (see above), if you will cut out the physical symptoms when there is stress anyway. You know the ones I’m talking about. Ick. Just ick. I hate cleaning up after you.

And can we talk about spoons? I know you only give me a limited number per day, but it would sure help if I knew what that number was. Is there any way you can be more consistent? If I have to borrow spoons from the next day or force myself to attend to some vital call or lengthy errand despite not having spoons, I promise to spend the next day in bed, just to satisfy you.

Please, if you can, give me some non-anxiety-laden hypomania so that I can go out and enjoy things with my husband and friends. If you agree to this, I will occasionally let you buy things off the Internet, for $20 or less.

And while we’re on the subject of enjoyment, I would appreciate it if you would give me back my libido. So would my husband. I know you don’t take orders from him, but it would be esteemed a favor.

Don’t even talk to me about hurting myself. I won’t listen. No matter how loud you get.

Don’t get between me and my friends. You’ve done that too often already and I just can’t put up with it anymore.

No more screwing with my memories. I’ve already lost enough. You can keep the ones of everything stupid I’ve ever done, but I will not watch when you push play on my internal video playback.

Now that I’ve finally got some self-esteem back, you just keep your claws off it. I need it and you don’t.

No dogs allowed. Especially large Black Dogs.

Oh, and tell your buddy Depression to leave my husband alone.

No love,

Me

 

 


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, concentration, depression, emotions, friends, hypomania, mental health, my experiences, Spoon Theory

Penny Positive #33

From An Optimist’s Calendar


I’m Emotionally Immature and I’M NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO HANDLE THIS!

He he…okay, yes I am mature enough to handle it. Because recognizing the issue is the first step, right? I mean…RIGHT?

HEY! GIVE ME VALIDATION TO STRENGTHEN MY BUBBLE-THIN SELF ESTEEM!

Oops, there I go again – making jokes to cover up an underlying layer of mental fragility. But who doesn’t like, jokes? HMMMMM?? I’M HILARIOUS. EVEN IF ONLY I THINK SO.

Hold up. Is speaking in excessive capital letters a sign of emotional immaturity? Let me check.

*switches tabs a second*

I guess that would fall under “over-exuberance.” Fine. No more capital letters. I’m getting rid of them all. Sayonara, over-exuberance.

(side note: spell-check wants to change “sayonara” to “savonarola.” wtf is “savonarola”?)

on wednesday night, i totally embarrassed myself in front of my pastor. that’s a long story that ends with, “and then i quickly said goodnight and excused myself to the other room to curl up in a chair and wonder why i can’t ever act like a normal human adult.” then, when i talked to my husband, i said, “seriously. why do i act like i’m twelve? i think i’m emotionally stunted or something.”

and do you know what he said? DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAID? (oops, sorry. the capitals leaked out)

he said, “eh, maybe. but that’s okay. it’s a common symptom of bipolar disorder.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(is excessive punctuation over-exuberant?)

so then I said, “what?!” all freaking out. not offended, really, but just mad that i really might be emotionally stunted, and it might be due to my obnoxious brain. like, my occasional childishness isn’t a quirky piece of my personality – it’s a flaw due to my dysfunctional body. i don’t want a flaw! i want a quirk!

so i immediately got online and googled this to see if he’s right. not that he’s usually wrong…he’s got a doctorate, he’s taken abnormal psych classes, and he (clearly) knows more about my disorder than i do. sure enough – there it was. emotional immaturity can be a symptom of bp.

things started clicking into place like when you arrange random scrabble tiles and they start to form words. maybe my emotional maturity is why i’m such a good middle school teacher…because i’m as mature as my students. perhaps this explains my consistent low self-esteem and need for near-constant validation from people, accomplishments, etc. does this explain my low resiliency and inability to handle change effectively? is this why i can’t handle scary movies – because people under seventeen shouldn’t watch rated r movies and i’m not emotionally that old yet?

here’s a super embarrassing secret: i really like stuffed animals. one time i told my psychiatrist, “hey, when i’m about to have a panic attack, sometimes i can hold a stuffed animal really tight and literally feel calmer and comforted by it. but then i feel like i’m about three years old because i was comforted by a stuffed animal…is that weird? should i be concerned by that?”

my ever-practical psych answered with, “if you have a way to calm yourself down, do it. if you’ve found a strategy that works, don’t question it – be thankful that you have it.” which is true, i guess. i’d rather get drunk or something, but that’s not advisable for people on my meds…or people with bp…or really, people in general. so i’ve got a stuffed panda instead of jack daniels.

judge away, friends. judge away. just don’t tell me about it, because clearly i’m not emotionally mature enough to handle criticism.

blog

can i have my capital letters back if i promise not to be over-exuberant anymore? the lack of proper capitalization is hurting my eyes.

You’re cool with it? Okay. Thanks.

Anyway, my husband seemed super unconcerned by this. He said, “I love you just the way you are. I love that you get excited about things. I love how much fun you are, and your challenges don’t bother me.”

To which I responded, “But if I’m secretly twelve, it’s like you’re having sex with a twelve-year-old. That’s messed up.”

He put his hand to his forehead. “Oh my word, Haze. You’re not secretly twelve. You just might have more emotional challenges than some other people, and that’s totally fine.”

Totally. Fine.

HA!

Not fine. But then I looked up ways to increase my emotional maturity – how to age myself like a fine wine – and it looks kind of impossible and/or boring. For example, lose my over exuberance? Like I have to hand over all of my capital letters and my birthday tiara? NO THANK YOU.

On the other hand, it would probably be in my best interests in increase my self-esteem and be able to handle change better. But that seems like something I’d have to go to therapy for, and I’ve been trying to stay out of therapy. I haven’t gone in over a year. I’d really rather pretend I don’t have these problems.

Wait. Hold on. *switches tabs again*

Shoot. “Unwillingness to face reality” is another symptom.

Arrrrrghhh!

Okay fine. I might be a little emotionally immature. And I might have a little bit of bipolar disorder. There. I faced reality. I’m growing up now. I faced reality, and it’s ugly. U-G-L-Y it ain’t got no alibi!

No wait, now I’m going backwards.

*facepalm*