Investigating the potential of non-invasive cranial nerve stimulation to improve epilepsy and cognition.

01 October 2017 → 30 September 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Project description

Epilepsy, one of the world’ most prevalent chronic brain disorders, remains poorly controlled for

an estimated 30% of patients, despite optimal medical treatment. Neurostimulation represents a

therapeutic alternative and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an accepted invasive therapy with

additional positive effects on mood disorders and cognitive functioning in epilepsy patients.

Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) is a relatively new, non-invasive alternative for

invasive VNS targeting vagal fibers in the ear through the skin. Previous clinical trials with tVNS

have shown a significant reduction in seizure frequency with minimal adverse events. This project

will investigate 1. whether tVNS can serve as a non-invasive screening tool for invasive VNS in

order to avoid surgery in non-responders, 2. whether tVNS can achieve the demonstrated

cognitive effects in similarity to invasive VNS and 3. whether the neurostransmitters known to be

involved in the mechanism of action of VNS also play a role in tVNS.