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Science

Hypertension is the leading health risk factor globally. High blood pressure is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes with elevated risk of myocardial infarction, heart failure, arterial aneurysms, kidney failure and stroke.

Despite significant advances in medical research, the biological/physiological mechanisms underlying the development of arterial hypertension are not fully understood. One hypothesis proposes that high blood pressure develops as a compensatory condition when blood supply to the brain is reduced, for example as a result of increased resistance of cerebral vasculature. Blood flow in the brain (cerebral blood flow) is driven by the arterial blood pressure and inversely proportional to cerebrovascular resistance. Any increase in the resistance to blood flow, for example due to (cerebro)vascular disease, atherosclerotic legions, ageing, etc., would require compensatory increases in the arterial pressure to maintain brain perfusion, essential to support the function of brain nerve cells processing information.

Applying methods or treatments designed to improve blood flow in the brain reduces systemic arterial blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Afferent has developed a novel device-based method of non-invasive neuromodulation which improves cerebral blood flow. This is achieved by application of a specific programme of electrical stimulation signals to cutaneous sensory projections of cranial and spinal nerves that innervate the outer ear. Afferent’s proof-of-concept study has shown that specific programme of treatment involving sessions of transcutaneous electrical stimulation of these nerves is highly effective in reducing blood pressure in different groups of patients with arterial hypertension.

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