Research News

New way to stimulate learning?

The vagus nerve connects the brain and organs throughout the body. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) implants have been used for more than 20 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy.

In a study published in the Journal of NeuroscienceTeresa Sanders, PhD, and colleagues report that VNS also induces specific epigenetic changes that control expression of genes involved in learning and memory.

Rats receiving VNS demonstrated greater preference for novel objects. The brains of treated rats exhibited reduced stress-response signaling and increased plasticity that correlated with enhanced novelty preference.