Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) is a newer delivery system using a non-invasive stimulation device placed at the ear. taVNS research is focused on clinical trials showing potential therapeutic benefits, however the neurophysiological effects of this stimulation on brain activity are still unclear. We propose a systematic review that aims to describe the effects of taVNS on EEG measures and identify taVNS parameters that can potentially lead to consistent EEG-mediated biomarkers for this therapy. A systematic literature review was carried out following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyzes (PRISMA) and the Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews. Clinical trials examining EEG parameters were considered, including absolute and relative power, coherence, degree of symmetry, evoked potentials, and peak frequency of all bands. According to our criteria, 18 studies (from 122 articles) were included. Our findings show a general trend towards increased EEG power spectrum activity in lower frequencies, and changes on early components of the ERP related to inhibitory tasks. This review suggests that quantitative electroencephalography can be used to assess the effects of taVNS on brain activity, however more studies are needed to systematically establish the specific effects and metrics that would reflect the non-invasive stimulation through the auricular branch of the vagus nerve.
- brain signals
- transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)