Instead of pharmaceuticals, electroceuticals?

Electroceuticals–using electrical impulses to modulate the body’s neural circuits as an alternative to drugs–are gaining momentum, and probably a lot closer to being realized than say, genomics. According to the article, if you can map how a disease affects the neural circuitry, then ‘remapping’ through stimulating or inhibiting the malfunctioning pathways via tiny electrodes may show a way to health without biological drugs. For instance, stimulating the vagus nerve seems to reduce the production of cytokines — immune system mediators — and blocks inflammation through boosting the immune system. It has been successfully used on a preliminary basis in treating inflammatory disease with rheumatoid arthritis. Multiple research teams have experimented with additional conditions such as respiratory diseases, asthma and diabetes–and possibly neuro-psychiatric disorders like Parkinson’s and epilepsy. It’s been successful enough to date to warrant a small investment from pharma giant Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK).

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