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What is a vagus nerve stimulator?

The Food and Drug Administration approved a device in 1997 called the vagus nerve stimulator to help people with epilepsy.

The device is implanted. It sends regular waves of electricity to the brain; much like a cardiac pacemaker creates rhythmic pulses to help the heart.

Vagus nerve stimulation usually does not result in full seizure control, so some medication may be necessary. The lowered dosage of the required medication, however, cuts down on the drug's wearying side effects.

A vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) is attached to a nerve in the neck and sends signals to keep the brain’s electrical activity in check. In essence, it acts as a pacemaker for the brain.

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