Healthy Living

Could a Pacemaker-like Implant Be the Next Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment?

Further study

This technology is still in its early stages of development. Tracey and his colleagues created a tiny, programmable device that is about the size of a jelly bean. The implant sits on the vagus nerve, can be charged using a collar, and is controlled by a tablet computer.

Another study in the UK is currently trying out the technology on 15 people who have the immune system disorder, Sjogren's syndrome. The researcher say that the method is showing some promising results in reducing the participants' symptoms.

Tracey stated that while other scientists seem to think that the key to improving this technology is to create smaller electrodes that can hit individual fibers, that the actual solution lies in a better understanding of how the body's mechanisms work.

While it is true that over 100,000 nerve fibers are packed into the vagus nerve, only 2,000 of them are directly linked to the spleen. Tracey believes that this means those fibers could be specifically targeted through bioelectronic methods.