Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation to Improve Emotional State

Author: Ainara Aranberri Ruiz1
1 Department of Basic Psychological Process and Development, University of the Basque Country, 20018 San Sebastian, Spain.
Conference/Journal: Biomedicines
Date published: 2024 Feb 9
Other: Volume ID: 12 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 407 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/biomedicines12020407. , Word Count: 180

Emotional experiences are a part of our lives. The maladaptive functioning of an individual's emotional field can lead to emotional disturbances of various kinds, such as anxiety and depression. Currently, there is an increasing prevalence of emotional disorders that cause great human suffering and high socioeconomic costs. Emotional processing has a biological basis. The major neuroscientific theories of emotion are based on biological functioning, and all of them take into account the anatomy and function of the tenth cranial nerve: the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve connects the subdiaphragmatic and supradiaphragmatic areas and modulates emotional processing as the basis of interoceptive functioning. Auricular vagus nerve stimulation is a new and innovative neuromodulation technique based on the function of the vagus nerve. Several interventions have shown that this new neurostimulation technique is a very promising resource for treating emotional disorders. In this paper, we summarise three neuroscientific theories of emotion, explain what transcutaneous auricular nerve stimulation is, and present arguments for its use and continued research.

Keywords: emotion; emotional disorders; neuromodulation; transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation.

PMID: 38398009 PMCID: PMC10886536 DOI: 10.3390/biomedicines12020407