Enhancement of Memory Recall Using Auricular Vagal Neuromodulation Therapy (AVNT): A Randomised Clinical Trial

Veröffentlicht in: Brain Stimulation Journal

Abstract

In the study participants received either Nurosym’s Auricular Vagal Neuromodulation Therapy (AVNT) or Placebo stimulation while reading passages and answering memory-based questions. Results showed that Nurosym significantly improved memory recall and accuracy in answering memory-related questions compared to placebo. The study found a positive correlation between verbal working memory and memory performance in the active group. These findings suggest that Nurosym enhances parasympathetic function, supporting memory retention and consolidation, and may have potential benefits for mitigating cognitive decline and memory loss.

Background and aims

The aim of the study was to investigate the potential of Nurosym’s AVNT in improving memory recall. Research links improved cognitive function to the parasympathetic nervous system, with cognitive decline often associated with sympathetic overactivity. Additionally, Vagal withdrawal may play an etiological role in cognitive impairment and recent studies have even shown that damage to the vagus nerve may affect many mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease and influence its progression. Therefore, stimulating the vagus nerve with Nurosym, which restores parasympathetic activity, may have the potential to improve memory function and prevent cognitive decline. Previous research on Nurosym has shown multidimensional activation of brain areas. Therefore, we hypothesise that improved neural signalling may correlate with cognitive performance and have a positive impact on memory.

Methods

The study employed a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial design. Recruited participants for the study were randomly assigned to receive placebo or active Nurosym neuromodulation while reading short passages aloud. The stimulation was initiated at the beginning of each passage reading session and ceased as soon as the participant finished reading the passage. After each passage, participants answered a series of test questions assessing working memory skills according to details of the passage. Two-tailed independent samples t tests were used to compare the placebo stimulation and active Nurosym neuromodulation groups.

Results

Using Nurosym while reading short passages led to better memory of the text compared to placebo stimulation. This effect was particularly noticeable in terms of improved scores on all memory based test questions. Although neuromodulation did not change the mechanical aspects of reading, its effect on enhancing memory-related comprehension skills was clearly observed. This was demonstrated by a significant effect on accuracy in answering memory-related questions, indicating significant improvement in memory-based comprehension.

In memory-related questions, the active group showed significantly greater accuracy compared to the placebo group (32%, p = 0.007). In the Nurosym active group there was a significant positive correlation between verbal working memory and memory questions (p = 0.023), contrasting with the lack of such a correlation in the placebo group. Moreover, in the entire sample, no significant correlation was detected between Number and Letter working memory scores and scores on memory-based questions (p = 0.54).

Conclusion

The heightened memory recall is ascribed to the improved function of the parasympathetic nervous system. Therefore, Nurosym utilises extensive vagus nerve connectivity to enhance parasympathetic activity through existing neural circuits, especially those supporting verbal working memory, to fortify the retention and consolidation of reading material. Thus, combining vagus nerve stimulation with reading alters the nervous system to streamline neural selection, fostering optimal cognitive function, and potentially mitigating scattered cognitive symptoms associated with memory loss.  Therefore, Nurosym may have a potential beneficial effect on memory.

Schlüsselwörter

Nurosym AVNT; Vagus nerve; Memory recall; Parasympathetic activity; Cognitive function

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