Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Physiol. 2013 Jan;98(1):38-45. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2012.064543. Epub 2012 Jul 30.

The wonders of the Wanderer.

Author information

School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.


Vagus is Latin for wandering, and the vagus nerve fully deserves this name due to its extensive distribution through the body. Indeed, one of the lines of the song that accompanied the 2012 G. L. Brown Prize Lecture exaggerates this diversity, 'My function's almost anythin', and vagus is my name'. Alteration of vagal activity was first investigated in the 1880s as a treatment for epilepsy, and vagus nerve stimulation is now an approved treatment for refractory epilepsy and depression in the USA, despite an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms involved. Vagus nerve stimulation could be beneficial in many other conditions, including heart failure, tinnitus, chronic hiccups, Alzheimer's disease and inflammatory diseases. Inhibition of vagal activity could also be beneficial in some conditions, e.g. reducing activation of vagal respiratory afferents to treat chronic cough. This review discusses evidence underlying some current and potential therapeutic applications of vagal modulation, illustrating the wonders of the Wanderer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center