Twee artikelen over onderzoek naar de behandeling van Tinnitus, dat gekmakende geluid in je hoofd.

Study to Test New Tinnitus 'Treatment'

Bron: ScienceDaily (Mar. 20, 2012)

A new clinical trial is to test whether a pocket-sized device that uses sound simulation to reboot faulty 'wiring' in the brain could
cure people with the debilitating hearing disorder tinnitus.

The CR® neuromodulation device delivers specific sequences of sounds to disrupt the pattern of neurons firing in the brain.
It is believed that conditions such as hearing loss can cause neurons in the brain to fire simultaneously instead of in a random
pattern which can cause an overload and lead to a ringing or buzzing in the ear, the classic symptom of tinnitus.
The study is being led by the National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing (NBRUH) which is funded by the National Institute
for Health Research (NIHR), a partnership bringing together expertise from researchers at The University of Nottingham and
the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing with leading clinicians from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Derek Hoare, a research fellow at the NBRUH, said: "In the UK, around five million people suffer from tinnitus, a debilitating
condition which can be exceptionally difficult to treat due to the huge variation in symptoms and severity between individual patients.
"We know there are very many people out there suffering with tinnitus who have tried a number of different treatments including
hearing aids, sound therapies, counseling and other alternative medicines such as acupuncture but to no avail.
"We want to scientifically establish whether this new method of sound simulation could offer patients a new hope for treating tinnitus,
which can have such a distressing impact on people's day to day lives."
Tinnitus is a secondary symptom usually resulting from damage to the ears, including hearing loss following exposure to loud noises,
congenital hearing loss, ear infections and ear hair cell death caused by exposure to a number of different drugs.
The revolutionary CR® neuromodulation device is already being marketed by the private healthcare sector both in the UK and in Germany,
where it was originally manufactured and where an exploratory study has already produced promising results.
Funded with just over £345,000 from the specialist private audiologists The Tinnitus Clinic in London, the study will also involve
collaboration with experts at the Ear Institute at University College London (UCL).
The scientists will be looking to recruit patients who have suffered from bothersome tinnitus for at least three months but are not
currently receiving any treatment for the condition. Those with associated hearing loss will need to forego the use of their normal
hearing aid for the four to six hours per day when the device needs to be worn.
The study will involve two groups of participants, one of which will be fitted with the CR® neuromodulation device and the other
of which will be fitted with a placebo device. Over a period of three months, the researchers will then monitor the effect of wearing
the device on the patient's condition through a series of hearing tests, questionnaires and EEG recordings of the electrical
activity of their brain.
After three months, all patients -- even those who previously received a placebo -- will be fitted with a working device which
they will be free to keep.
The researchers hope to be able to prove that by disrupting the abnormal firing of neurons in the brain the device can encourage
them to return to a normal healthy pattern, eradicating the symptoms of tinnitus. In some cases, patients may find the device has
permanently improved their symptoms, with potentially no further treatment needed in the future.
The National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing was established in 2008 as part of the National Institute for Health Research
and is the only biomedical research unit funded to conduct pure translational research in deafness and hearing problems,
taking new medical discoveries into a clinical setting for the benefit of patients.

Story Source:
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Nottingham, via AlphaGalileo.

Bron: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120320115043.htm


New therapy for tinnitus

At last, a way to treat that maddening ringing in your ears.

A therapy for tinnitus, the infuriating ringing in the ears that plagues millions of people, is finally on the cards.
Simply learning to tell the difference between computer generated tones could help relieve the debilitating condition.
A small pilot study of the technique by German researchers has proved so promising that a full-scale clinical trial has already been launched.

Tinnitus sufferers hear buzzing or ringing sounds that can`t be blocked out. The condition affects most people at some point in their lives,
but in 5 per cent of the population it becomes chronic and debilitating.

What goes on in their brains was a mystery until Herta Flor and her team at the University of Heidelberg`s Central Institute of Mental Health
showed that the auditory cortex becomes reorganised. In healthy people, areas of the auditory cortex that respond to different sound
frequencies are of similar size. But in people with tinnitus, regions corresponding to the frequencies of the rogue sounds are disproportionately large.

A similar distortion occurs in the brains of patients who suffer phantom limb pain following amputation.
The area that represents the amputated body part appears to shrink as it is invaded by neighbouring areas that represent other body parts.
Flor`s group has successfully treated amputees by asking them to recognise the position and frequency of non-painful electric shocks
applied to their stumps. The shocks stimulated the corresponding brain areas and persuaded them to expand again.
This reduced the patients` pain by almost 70 per cent.

Flor believes tinnitus is also a kind of phantom sensation, so her group tried using the same principle in reverse to treat it.
They trained nine people with chronic tinnitus to discriminate between different pairs of tones, closely matched, that were pitched at frequencies
near to the phantom noises.

The patients trained two hours a day over four weeks, after which they reported a 35 per cent reduction in their tinnitus.
A control group that trained using unrelated tones showed no improvement.

The researchers don`t yet know if the regions causing tinnitus actually shrink, or if the training causes permanent changes in the brain.
Flor says four weeks probably wouldn`t be enough to make a permanent difference, but anticipates that the longer patients train, the more they`ll benefit.

It remains to be seen whether more rigorous studies will confirm the initial results. Gerhard Andersson of the University of Uppsala,
Sweden, warns that most tinnitus patients hear complex sounds rather than a pure tone.

But if the approach is successful, it might mean it`s possible to prevent tinnitus in the first place, just as phantom limb pain
can be reduced by giving patients drugs immediately before or after amputation. These drugs block the receptors in the brain
that are involved in the brain reorganisation which takes place during learning.
Flor suggests that people exposed to a trigger for tinnitus-a loud noise or injury, for example-might be protected by taking
the same drugs straight afterwards.


Author: Laura Spinney

Bron: http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=47200&CultureCode=en