It has been centuries since it is a known fact that the heart and brain inter communicate with each other and that the heart sends far more signals to the brain than otherwise. Well, may be this point was never really explored much earlier as neo-cardiology is a relatively newer field. But, now after substantial research in the field it has been established that our heart does have its own little brain and that is is apparently a sensory organ. It is also proved that it is an encoding and processing center that’s highly sophisticated enough to designate it as a heart brain.
The heart brain
The heart brain or the hearts nervous system is made of ganglia which in turn consists of sensory neurites spread all over the heart and different types of circuit neurons. The findings about the little brain residing within the heart are startling. The nervous system of the heart is a self organized but convoluted system. The demonstration of its ability to reform new neural connections on a short term and long term span in order to reorganize itself is demonstrated clearly. The extrinsic cardiac ganglia in the thoracic cavity is indirectly linked to many organs, arteries and skin through the spinal cord and directly linked to organs like esophagus and lungs. The processing and integration of the information from sensory neurons in the heart and the extrinsic nervous system is carried out by the intrinsic nervous system.
Heart brain & Brain communication
The heart generates powerful rhythmic information patterns for continuous communication with the brain while the brain receives the information sent by the heart via the nodose ganglion and the vagus nerve to the medulla. After reaching the medulla, the signals further commute to the cortical and sub-cortical areas. Studies and research have found that heart communicates with the brain on a continuous basis via different modes be it biochemical, neurological, energetic or biophysical. It also has a vital role to play in synchronization of the body.
Thus, the heart is apparently at the heart of regulation of dynamics of processes due to its high influence on physiological, emotional as well as cognitive systems, all this because of its little own intrinsic brain.
Know More Best Neuro Hospital in India and Vagus Nerve Stimulation
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Vagus Nerve Stimulation or VNS has already got a green signal from the Food and Drug Administration of USA for conditions like epilepsy and depression but the latest reports confirm its utilization in rehabilitation of the limb for stroke patients. Many of us are aware of the fact that over 80% of people who’ve recently got a stroke find significant difficulty or weakness on one side of their body. With Paralysis or Hemiparesis, there is high possibility that the patients have to live with it for the rest of their lives. It has also be observed that oral drugs have not been so effective in reducing the impairments. This is when VNS technology experiments were carried out on patients with significant arm weakness post stroke.
The test include 20 patients randomly divided into two groups and observed over a period of six weeks in Glasgow, Scotland. One group was kept entirely under rehabilitation while the other was provided VNS treatment alongside rehabilitation.
VNS treatment for stroke patient involves implanting a device surgically below the collar bone of the patient. It does the task of delivering stimulation to the vagus nerve.As per the experimental data available, VNS activates structures in the brain stem, thus causing a release of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine or acetylcholine. This temporary activation of the neurotransmitters in turn helps the brain to be more receptive with the physical therapy exercises during physiotherapy rehabilitation sessions.
The results where encouraging because the latter group that was provided the VNS treatment seemed to show an average 9% improvement. Individual variation did persist but overall it proved to be effective as it improved the motion and strength of their stroke affected limb. Thus, the results of VNS for limb rehabilitation of stroke patients seems to be quite promising and has also received a positive response from the doctors as well. It looks like, the coming times will definitely shed light on its full fledged utilization in limb rehabilitation of stroke patients.
None the less, it is a ray of hope in the direction of improvement of quality of life of the stroke patients who live through the fear of arm weakness and dependency for their lifetime.
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Source : http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/876351#vp_1