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Re: I have the implant. Docs give up. Email me....

Posted by jerrympls on March 6, 2003, at 21:07:10

In reply to Re: I have the implant. Docs give up. Email me...., posted by syringachalet on March 6, 2003, at 17:14:59

> Hello all,
> The original post was in regard to questions
> about a VNS implant and the fact that the poster stated he did not feeling it was helping him much.
> There have been some medical trials being done in Dallas, TX on people with medication-resistant depression that have tried just about everything including ECT without success.
> This is a high controvercial, experimental surgical implant in the brain that sends out minute electrical impulses to the brain to allow the patient to be anti-depressant medication free.
> This implant can be programed to rate of impluse frequency and intensity by your MD.
> They have been using a similar implant commonly called pacemakers to regulate the electrical conductivity of the heart muscle for many years.(U.S. V.P. Chenney(2 yrs) and Elton John (11 yrs) have this type of pacemaker.)
> There are several articles listed on under VNS implants. Most are pretty easily read by anyone.
> Sorry that this got so long. When it come to adult learners, it is difficult for me to know where to start and when Im just boring you all..
> Take Care and Be Well.
> syringachalet

Sorry to be talking in code. I just am not sure that I am supposed to broadcast that much about the Vegus Nerve Stimulator implant trial in which I am a guinea pig.

The VNS is NOT implanted in or near the brain - instead, a device the size of a pocket watch is implanted under the skin under the left collar bone. From there, a lead wire is tunneled (sp?) under the skin, over the collar bone and up the neck where it then is tunneled through the muscle to finally be attched to the Vegus Nerve. The Vegus or vegal nerve (we have 2 - one on each side) is the "main communication highway" from the brain to the "main" organs - including liver, lungs, digiestive tract, stomach, etc. The nerve starts/ends in the "emotion centers" of the brain and branch out in the lower body. The nerve was choose as a good "route" because 80% of all vegus nerve transmissions are going Up - into the brain.

Currently the VNS device has been approved for epilepsy and approximately 10,000 people in the US are implanted. I am in a 3-year FDA approved study for treatment resistant depression involving 250 participants from across the US. I was implanted in June, 2001.

The device delivers a very small electrical charge - about as much as 1/4 of an AAA battery (if I am correct) at a specific frequency, wave pulse, on/off time among others. Many people have the device set to go off every 5 mins for 30 seconds.

Side effects can include voice change (hoarseness) when the deivce goes off, asthma aggravation, sore throat, muscle spasm near incision site on neck, vocal chord paralysis (in severe cases), and a tingling sensation around the "adam's apple" when the deivce goes off.

Does it hurt? no. What is the voice change like? It's sounds like you're talking into a fan.

Does it work?

Hmm. I need to think about this.

Hope this has been helpful.




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