Johns Hopkins University has just patented a new device for relief from nausea. In the patent, Dr. Ronald Lesser, MD and Dr. Robert Webber, PhD propose a system that could help pregnant women cope with nausea without using drugs that could endanger the health of the fetus, among other uses.
A small metal rod wrapped in a metallic coil is inserted beneath the skin on a patient's neck, close to the vagus nerve.
When current is run through a similar coil held outside the neck, the induced current in the inserted rod should stimulate the vagus nerve and disrupt the sense of nausea felt by a patient.
Johns Hopkins says that the strength and frequency of pulses must be set by a physician to suit each individual patient. Once adjusted, patients should be able to control their own symptoms with a hand-held device. Although the vagus nerve affects the heart, lungs and stomach, JHU says stimulation should not affect vital functions, such as cardiac rhythm.
If you are interested in science-fictional medical advances that are starting to appear at hospitals near you, see Bionic Arm Uses Neuro-Engineering, Brain 'Pacemaker' for Depression Sufferers and Southampton 'Remedi Hand' Beats Hollywood Thanks to Delster for pointing out this story; read a bit more at NewScientist (opens in new tab).
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)