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A Review of Parameter Settings for Invasive and Non-invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Applied in Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Sean L. Thompson, Georgia H. O’Leary, Christopher W. Austelle, Elise Gruber, Alex T. Kahn, Andrew J. Manett, Baron Short,
Published: 13 July 2021

Abstract: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an established form of neuromodulation with a long history of promising applications. Earliest reports of VNS in the literature date to the late 1800’s in experiments conducted by Dr. James Corning. Over the past century, both invasive and non-invasive VNS have demonstrated promise in treating a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, depression, and post-stroke motor rehabilitation. As VNS continues to rapidly grow in popularity and application, the field generally lacks a consensus on optimum stimulation parameters. Stimulation parameters have a significant impact on the efficacy of neuromodulation, and here we will describe the longitudinal evolution of VNS parameters in the following categorical progression: (1) animal models, (2) epilepsy, (3) treatment resistant depression, (4) neuroplasticity and rehabilitation, and (5) transcutaneous auricular VNS (taVNS). We additionally offer a historical perspective of the various applications and summarize the range and most commonly used parameters in over 130 implanted and non-invasive VNS studies over five applications.
Keywords: VNS / taVNS / tVNS / parameter optimization / neuroplasticity / Rehabilitation / Epilepsy / Depression

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