What is the autonomic nervous system?
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls the functions that we consider to be automatic, such as heart rate, blood pressure, intestinal motility, pupil size, blushing, goose bumps, and the like.
The autonomic nervous system has two halves:
The SYMPATHETIC half is best known as the emergency response and adrenaline system. It is easily remembered as the “fight-or-flight” response.
The PARASYMPATHETIC half does just the opposite. It stimulates the body’s “rest-and-digest” response. This also activates an increasingly important anti-inflammatory pathway.
Surprisingly, the ANS can be rather fragile. And when out of balance or uncoordinated, we humans can experience many symptoms. This even includes top athletes, such as astronauts. Two days or more in space and they return to earth with ANS dysfunction that can take months to resolve.
And for this reason, thanks to NASA, exceptional, FDA-approved, advanced testing equipment now exists at MPM to quantify function, balance, and coordination of the two halves of the ANS.
Why test the autonomic nervous system?
Testing the autonomic nervous system (ANS) helps to:
• Understand ANS function/dysfunction behind symptoms
• Improve the differential diagnosis
• Identify optimal therapies, both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic
We find this testing is so helpful that we have termed it the “future stethoscope.”
Who can benefit?
Experience from our clinic, and from over 10,000 other patients from around the country, confirms that the people who benefit from this testing are those who suffer from any of the following symptoms:
- Exercise intolerance
- Post-exertional fatigue
- Chronic pain including firbromyalgia
- Persistent, unexplained weight gain
- Sleep disturbances of all types
- Heart palpitations
- Depressed mood
- “Brain fog”
- Brain fatigue
- Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms including constipation, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and randomly alternating symptoms
- Frequent headaches
- Falls or near falls
- Urogenital dysfunction including urination difficulties and erectile dysfunction
- Difficult to diagnose symptoms
- Difficult to control blood pressure, diabetes, or hormonal states
- Long COVID
And persons with any of the following medical diagnoses also benefit from this testing:
- Previous heart attack or heart surgery
- Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
- Anxiety, dysthymia, and/or depression
- Neurologic diagnoses including neuropathies, migraines, and/or seizures
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)
Additionally, based on medical literature, ANS testing may also be helpful for post-cancer survivorship.
What are ANS test requirements?
We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing that allows blood pressure measurement and three cardiac lead placements on the chest.
Are there treatments for ANS dysfunction?
There are multiple potential results from ANS testing. For each result, there is a corresponding Action Plan that can be personalized for you.
For those with low parasympathetic status (“rest-and-digest”) or excessive sympathetic status (“fight-or-flight”), we provide access to an FDA-approved parasympathetic system activator called GammaCore.
The GammaCore is an external, hand-held vagus nerve stimulator that is bringing significant to even profound relief to numerous MPM patients.
Truly, we have seen more tears of joy in the clinic in the first three months of using the GammaCore than we have in any other three-month period in the past 35 years.
In the United States, the GammaCore is approved for migraines and headaches. In Europe, it is also approved for gastrointestinal concerns, anxiety, and depression. Our experience is its benefits extend to many patients.
More than 375 clinical trials of vagus nerve stimulation have been registered at the international clearinghouse of ClinicalTrials.gov.
These clinical trials include nearly every sub-speciality.
- Cardiology: Heart rhythm disorders, congestive heart failure
- Endocrinology: Type II diabetes; insulin resistance; non-alcoholic, fatty liver disease; obesity
- Pulmonology: Asthma, emphysema, Covid-19, and ventilator requirements
- Gastroenterology: Inflammatory bowel disease, motility disorders, functional dyspepsia
- Infectious Disease: Long COVID
- Neurology: Traumatic brain injury (TBI), dementia, and neurodegenerative disorders
- Rheumatology: Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
- Psychiatry: Treatment-resistant depression
We have heard reports from MPM patients on significant improvements in:
- Muscle tightness
The GammaCore is available by prescription only to existing MPM patients.
Click HERE for more information on the GammaCore.
“I’m thrilled with ANS testing results – it explains a lot. After a weekend on the two, new medications, there are a couple of nice, early results: 1) My sinuses are CLEAR without inflammation (have dealt with persistent stuffiness); 2) On a base level, I can tell that I’m calmer, less background static – for lack of a better word; 3) My appetite is better; 4) Feel happier, sharper. I wanted to give you an update and express my gratitude. Honestly, I was uncertain we’d ever find anything that makes all of my symptoms together make sense. I’ve got a whole new possible future today.” – Anonymous
“I’ve experienced great results using the GammaCore vagus nerve stimulator to help with my sleep issues. I’ve found it to be a very valuable tool. It’s been very meditative for me. I like to just sit calmly afterwards. I’m excited to share my experience with the GammaCore with my friends. I think many will also benefit from it.” — Jeanne