Neuromodulation Treatment for COVID19
On this episode I talked to Peter Staats, MD, MPH, CMO for electroCore, CMO for National Spine and Pain Center, and President-Elect of the World Institute of Pain. Peter started his career as an anesthesiologist and founder of the division of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where he was the division chief and director for over a decade developing Neuromodulation for the treatment of pain.
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The use of electricity is not new to the world of medicine and has been used for many years going back to the Baghdad battery from 250 BC, and may have been used to treat pain as was the case of the Torpedo Fish from 460 AD being placed on people’s heads to treat headaches. In the 1950’s we saw the emergence of pacemakers for heart rhythm problems and electrical stimulation is in use to relieve back pain with spinal cord implant devices. Despite all this, there remains resistance to neuromodulation that as Peter suggests may be linked to our love affair with medication and pills.
We dive into the detail of the vagus nerve (aka the Wandering nerve and longest nerve in the body connecting the brain to the viscera). When Peter discovered his son had a Peanut Allergy, like any parent he wanted to find ways to help, looking for ways to stop or prevent the airway constriction that can be life-threatening for people with allergies. Their research in animal models showed positive effects on airway bronchoconstriction but when they started testing an incidental finding of relief of headaches of the vagal nerve stimulation sent the company Electrocore in a different direction focused on developing the GammaCore vagal nerve stimulation technology and the gammaCore Sapphire product that is now in use to prevent and treat cluster headaches (aka Suicide headaches).
Listen in to hear how the gammaCore Sapphire-CV device has been recently authorized by the FDA under their EUA program to treat patients with known or suspected COVID-19 who are experiencing an exacerbation of asthma-related dyspnea and reduced airflow and hear what other diseases are being targeted for neuromodulation as a possible treatment.
About the Show
For years Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick, has served as a voice on the impact of new technologies on healthcare, earning a reputation as a leading authority on where the future of medicine is going. Combining powers of observation and real world experience, Dr. Nick has seen many predictions come true and makes the case that innovations in healthcare can be accomplished incrementally, not just by moonshot events. Tune in to hear Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist and his guests discuss what the future of healthcare looks like, how we will get there, and what it will take to improve healthcare for all.
This article was originally published on the Dr. Nick – The Incrementalist blog and is republished here with permission.