A series of pilot clinical studies to assess the effect of a novel bioelectronic stimulation suggest that non-invasive stimulation at the external ear may help improve disease symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Bioelectronic medicine scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research collaborated with counterparts from Academic Medical Center at University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands conducted the studies. Their findings were published recently in Bioelectronic Medicine.

Bioelectronic medicine draws on neuroscience, focuses on molecular targets, and deploys bioengineering to tap into the nervous system to treat disease and injury without the use of pharmaceuticals.

In the study, Sangeeta S. Chavan, PhD, Feinstein Institute professor, along with Meghan E. Addorisio, BS, tested the efficacy of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation to reduce inflammation and improve disease severity in RA patients.

They found that bioelectronic medicine treatment was effective in inhibiting the production of cytokines, proteins that mediate inflammation and reduce the inflammatory responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a media release from Northwell Health explains.

“Our primary objective was to observe if a non-invasive treatment using an external device will be effective in improving disease severity of rheumatoid arthritis that continues to plague more than one million across the country each year,” Chavan says, in the release.

“We are pleased to observe that this novel bioelectronic treatment significantly reduces swelling and inflammation associated with RA.”

Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute, and co-author on the paper, notes, “This clinical research suggests that non-invasive stimulation could suppress inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients.”

[Source(s): Northwell Health, EurekAlert]