Mapping Auricular Vagus Nerve Circuitry

  • End date
    Nov 26, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Massachusetts General Hospital
Updated on 26 April 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


This study will determine how vagus nerve stimulation affects human brain, stomach, and autonomic activity.


Scientific research into the basic mechanisms underlying neuromodulation is relatively recent and incomplete. The purpose of the proposed study is to determine how a form of neuromodulation, transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation, which is non-invasive and non-painful, affects human brain and autonomic activity. We will accomplish this by integrating whole brain functional MRI (fMRI) methodologies with gastric MRI and physiological monitoring.

This study will comprise 2 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain-gut scans and 2 behavioral visits consisting of a nutrient drink test, all while receiving the neuromodulation with varying parameters. Participants will also have their heart rate, breathing, and gastric activity monitored during all visits.

Condition Healthy
Treatment active neuromodulation, sham neuromodulation, active auricular tVNS, inactive auricular tVNS
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT00200889
SponsorMassachusetts General Hospital
Last Modified on26 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria


Exclusion Criteria

Any condition contraindicating an fMRI brain scan
Any neurological or psychiatric disorders
Any pain syndromes
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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