The medical device company cerbomed cooperated with the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University of Regensburg 2010 on a randomized, controlled study into somatosensory pain processing. The study, lead by Prof. Dr. Peter Eichhammer and Dr. Volker Busch, aimed to judge the pain-relieving effect of transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (t-VNS).
“Until now, the analgesic effect of vagus nerve stimulation has only been proven in animal experiments, and only occasionally observed in people with invasive vagus nerve stimulation”
In the context of the study, 48 healthy subjects underwent quantitative sensory testing (QST) with and without t-VNS activated on different days. A comprehensive comparative analysis was made of their perception of pain and pain sensitivity.
With t-VNS, there was a statistically significant and clinically relevant lowering of the mechanical pain perception and a rise in the pressure pain threshold. "Until now, the analgesic effect of vagus nerve stimulation has only been proven in animal experiments, and only occasionally observed in people with invasive vagus nerve stimulation," says Dr. Busch. "Now, however, for the first time, this effect could be proven with t-VNS in a randomized, controlled study in humans."
Chronic pain affects about 20 to 25 per cent of people today. Prof. Jens Ellrich, Chief Medical Officer at cerbomed, explains that the great potential of an alternative treatment stems mainly from the current, often inadequate approach of drug-based therapies which have many undesirable side effects: "The results and findings from this preclinical study make planning further clinical studies into the therapy of chronic pain with t-VNS possible."
cerbomed will present the results at the Joint Neuromodulation meeting of the Benelux Neuromodulation Society, taking place from January 27th to 29th, 2011 in Groningen, the Netherlands. (http://www.bnsneuromodulation.com)