Brain and Nervous System, Wellness

Our vagus nerves help us rest, digest and restore. Can you really reset them to feel better?

On social media and in wellbeing circles, people have been talking about the vagus nerve a lot. In fact, we have two vagus nerves – a left and a right – and their optimal functioning is essential for good physical and mental health.

Many social media posts describe ways to reset the vagus nerves to reduce stress and increase calm. These mostly focus on yoga, meditation, deep breathing and cold plunges.

But the vagus nerves also play a part in why socialising, sex and sports are good for our health and wellbeing.

Illustration of a nurse helping an older woman with a cane.
Aging, Brain and Nervous System, Dementia, Diet

Aging with a healthy brain: How lifestyle changes could help prevent up to 40% of dementia cases

By adopting positive lifestyle habits, we could theoretically prevent about 40 per cent of dementias. While there is no guarantee of warding off cognitive decline, people can greatly reduce their risk of dementia by increasing their physical activity levels, ensuring they are mentally active and increasing social contact, while avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.

Brain and Nervous System, Pain Medicine

Brain signatures for chronic pain identified in a small group of individuals

Chronic pain is one of the largest contributors to disability worldwide. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous system itself. It most commonly occurs due to injury to the nerves in our bodies, but for the individuals in this study, their pain is thought to originate from the brain itself. This kind of pain does not respond well to current treatments and can be debilitating for people living with it.

Aging, Brain and Nervous System, Drugs

What is delirium?

Up to one-third of older people admitted to hospital are diagnosed with delirium. This increases the risk of unnecessary functional decline, a longer hospital stay, falls, needing to be admitted to a residential aged care facility, and death. However, identifying the condition early reduces these risks. Delirium can also be prevented by identifying who is vulnerable to the condition and finding ways of reducing the person’s risk.