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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Feb 2019 - 1 Mar 2019


2019 Aug




Vagus nerve stimulation for primary headache disorders: An anatomical review to explain a clinical phenomenon.


Jozef Hendrik Augustinus Henssen D, Derks B, van Doorn M, Verhoogt N, van Cappellen van Walsum A-M, Staats P, Vissers K
Cephalalgia. 2019 Aug; 39(9):1180-1194.
PMID: 30786731.


Non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve has been proposed as a new neuromodulation therapy to treat primary headache disorders, as the vagus nerve is hypothesized to modulate the headache pain pathways in the brain. Vagus nerve stimulation can be performed by placing an electrode on the ear to stimulate the tragus nerve, which contains about 1% of the vagus fibers. Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) conventionally refers to stimulation of the cervical branch of the vagus nerve, which is made up entirely of vagal nerve fibers. While used interchangeably, most of the research to date has been performed with nVNS or an implanted vagus nerve stimulation device. However, the exact mechanism of action of nVNS remains hypothetical and no clear overview of the effectiveness of nVNS in primary headache disorders is available.