Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) delivers small electric currents to nerves or muscles. It can be used to help exercise or to treat a variety of symptoms such as back pain. It has recently been shown that non-invasive use of a TENS machine for a month significantly reduced symptoms of fatigue in another chronic immune-mediated disease. We would like to test if a similar treatment could help people suffering from post COVID fatigue. To do this, TENS will be used to stimulate the vagus nerve (known to play a role in regulating chronic inflammation and fatigue) through TENS stimulation to the ear.
Image of Ear Clip Image of TENS device
Peripheral nerve stimulation
Stimulating a specific nerve at the wrist allows us to measure activity in your hand muscles. To do this a small electrical current is applied on the wrist, which causes your hand muscles to twitch briefly. Sticker electrodes on the muscle can record the activity.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) allows us to test the connection between the brain and the muscles. By applying a magnetic pulse over the brain, signals are being sent to the muscle. The pulse causes a small twitch in the target muscle, but is otherwise barely noticeable and isn’t painful. The technique is safe and has been used in research and for diagnostic purposes for decades.
Heart rate and its variability can provide important insights into autonomic function. In order to record ECG, all that is needed are sticker electrodes around your shoulders.
Wearable technologies such as biosensors and accelerometer wristbands allow for monitoring physiological activity continuously over several days.
VitalPatch biosensor Axivity wristband
Tests in the lab also include a variety of other tests, such as measuring your reaction time or grip strength.