There has been recent clinical trial data that has been published that demonstrates that stimulating the vagus nerve with an implantable biolectronic device significantly helped patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition. It is characterized by swollen joints, joint stiffness, fatigue, fever, and weight loss. RA occurs when your immune system attacks the lining of your joint membranes, called the synovium. Becuase of this immune system attack, there will be a resultant inflammatory response. This inflammation alters the biomechanics of the joint. The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and alignment.
This study is exciting because it demonstrates that stimulating the vagus nerve helps to reduce inflammation. This has been seen in previous animal model studies, and this published data will push forward the correlation between vagus nerve stimulation and the suppression of several key cytokines like TNF. This may also be relevant for other inflammatory diseases as well.