VNS builds on a long history of investigating the relationship of autonomic signals to limbic and cortical function and is one of the newest methods to physically alter brain function. VNS is a clinically useful anticonvulsant therapy in treatment resistant patients with epilepsy, and pilot data suggest that it has potential as an antidepressant therapy. The known anatomic projections of the vagus nerve suggest that VNS also might have other neuropsychiatric applications. Additional research is needed to clarify the mechanisms of action of VNS and the potential clinical utility of this intriguing new somatic portal into the CNS.
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