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Stimulating the Vagus Nerve Could Restore Consciousness

Submitted by alanhu on Mon, 02/11/2019 - 15:33

The vagus nerve is a long cranial nerve that connects the whole body. The cranial nerve is important for waking and alertness. When it is disrupted there could be consequences to maintaining the stability of sleeping and alertness. The experiment involved a person who was in a vegetative state for 15 years. The vagus nerve was stimulated and it was found that there was an increase in attention and movement in the brain. The subject was also able to follow objects with his eyes. Further stimulation of the brain caused an increase in the amount of brain activity. Using a PET scan to measure the brain, it was found that with each stimulation the brain was “awakened” more and more. The increases were found to be in the parieto-occipital cortex (vision), thalamus (sending information to areas of the brain) and the striatum (voluntary motor control).