Tickling & # 39; & # 39; of the ear with a small electrical current can help you & # 39; stay healthier as you age and reduce your risk of fatal heart disease & # 39;
- Researchers from the University of Leeds tested the stimulation on 29 volunteers
- They used electric currents to target the vagus nerve, one of the largest
- This increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system & # 39; resting and digesting & # 39;
- This in turn can improve the health of the heart and intestines and reduce the risk of disease
Using an electrical device to control & # 39; tickle pulses & # 39; send into someone's ear, they can stay healthier until old age, scientists say.
Stimulating the vagus nerve through the skin of the head can kick a person's resting nervous system and vital digestive processes that become weaker with age.
And this can, according to researchers, reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or an irregular heartbeat.
Only 15 minutes a day turned out to be long enough to have the desired effects on people over 55 in a study, which gave the scientists a & # 39; great response & # 39; called.
Volunteers had their vagus nerve – which is essential for regulating the vital & # 39; rest and digestive phases & # 39; of the body – stimulated with electrical currents sent through their ear. The impulses were painless, but can cause a tickling feeling (photo: an unnamed volunteer)
Experts from the University of Leeds have tested transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) on 29 healthy volunteers.
They found that it increased activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the heartbeat and digestive system.
This nervous system usually becomes less effective as people age, making them more likely to develop heart problems – and tVNS may be able to undo this.
& # 39; The ear is like a gateway through which we can tinker with the metabolic balance of the body without medication or invasive procedures, & # 39; said Dr. Beatrice Bretherton.
& # 39; We believe these results are just the tip of the iceberg.
& # 39; We are delighted to do further research into the effects and potential long-term benefits of daily ear stimulation, as we have seen a great response to treatment so far. & # 39;
The sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight stress response, begins to overwhelm the resting parasympathetic nervous system as people age. Scientists believe that the use of electricity to stimulate the vagus nerve can stimulate the parasympathetic system
The volunteers were taught to use the stimulation devices themselves at home. The study found 15 minutes a day sufficient to rebalance their nervous system
WHEN WILL BE HUMAN BRAINS & # 39; OLD & # 39 ;?
The human brain becomes & # 39; old & # 39; at the age of 25, research suggested in February 2017.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is found in the brain and spinal cord, changes the speed of movement in people older than mid-20, according to a study by Lancaster University.
These movements are linked to breathing and heart rate, with CSF changes previously associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and high blood pressure.
It is unclear whether these CSF changes are related to brain disorders that typically affect the elderly, such as dementia.
Previous research suggests that the volume and weight of the brain start to decrease by around five percent per decade when a person reaches the age of 40.
Based on these findings, study author Professor Aneta Stefanovska added further research & # 39; can open new boundaries in understanding and diagnosing different neurodegenerative and aging-related diseases to improve diagnostic procedures and patient prognosis & # 39 ;.
The discovery came to light during the development of a new method for investigating brain function, which has revealed the stage in life where the brain starts to deteriorate.
Previous research conducted by Imperial College London suggests the gray matter of the brain, which allows the organ to function, shrinks during middle age and is related to cell death.
White matter, which makes communication between nerve clusters possible, also seems to decrease by around 40.
This is also when the myelin sheath deterioration occurs. Myelin sheath is a fatty substance that surrounds nerve cells and ensures proper functioning of the nervous system.
These changes are thought to occur as a result of a reduction in the dopamine and serotonin hormones.
The tVNS treatment works by trying to restore the balance of the nervous system so that it resembles that of a younger person.
In healthy people, there is generally a balance between the nerves that control a person's & # 39; fight or flight & # 39; response and those that control the & # 39; rest and digestion state dictation – the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system respectively.
As people get older, the sympathetic nervous system – fighting or fleeing – overwhelms the other and can make people's hearts and digestive system less effective.
The use of tVNS to stimulate the vagus nerve, which is essentially a control center for the parasympathetic system, could restore this balance, scientists believe.
Stimulating the vagus nerve has been investigated in the past as a way to treat depression, epilepsy, tinnitus, stroke, heart disease or obesity.
In the Leeds study, the volunteers had nerve stimulation through their ear – which some felt like tickling – for two minutes for 15 minutes a day for two weeks.
They discovered that the stress response of people decreased and their response at rest increased, which researchers said could reduce their need for medication or hospital visits.
People who had a larger gap between the two types of nerve activity were the ones who benefited most from the treatment.
Dr. Susan Deuchars, one of the senior authors of the study, said: & We believe that this stimulation can make a big difference in people's lives, and we now hope to conduct further research to see if tVNS has multiple disorders benefit. & # 39;
Dr. David Clancy of Lancaster University, who was not involved in the study, said tests had to be performed to compare the effects with a placebo.
He said: & # 39; It would have been helpful to measure treatment versus sham reactions here, because the people who participated were in a quiet, temperature-controlled room and were lying half-on a couch during each experiment.
& # 39; I suspect that many of us have improved our relaxation and well-being under such circumstances! & # 39;
The study is published in the medical journal Aging.
WHAT IS VAGUS NERVE STIMULATION?
Vagus nerve stimulation is a form of treatment for epilepsy.
It concerns three devices:
- A pacemaker-like device implanted in the patient's chest
- A small thread through the neck of the patient to their brains
- A portable magnet
The device in the breast sends electrical impulses to the brain through a nerve in the neck called the vagus nerve.
This regular stimulation suppresses the normal electrical activity of the brain.
It is designed to stop epileptic seizures before they occur, or at least to reduce the severity of an epileptic seizure.
If the epileptic person feels an attack coming, they can also cause an electric shock themselves.
By swiping the hand magnet over the generator, the individual can send more impulses to the vagus nerve.
Because epilepsy is a very varied condition, only a small number of people are suitable for surgery.
A person must be eligible for brain surgery, or have only undergone brain surgery to be unsuccessful.
Vagus nerve stimulation is a form of treatment for epilepsy. It concerns three devices and is designed to limit and stop attacks
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