Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Can Generate Unexplained Noise In Ears

Date:
December 26, 2002
Source:
American Neurological Association
Summary:
Unexplained and severe tinnitus--a ringing or buzzing in the ears--can be temporarily reduced in some patients by "jamming" the brain's electrical activity with focused magnetic stimulation, according to a preliminary study in the Annals of Neurology. The results confirm that some phantom sounds are generated by abnormal activity in the brain itself.

Unexplained and severe tinnitus--a ringing or buzzing in the ears--can be temporarily reduced in some patients by "jamming" the brain's electrical activity with focused magnetic stimulation, according to a preliminary study in the Annals of Neurology. The results confirm that some phantom sounds are generated by abnormal activity in the brain itself.

"Controlled clinical trials are now necessary to evaluate whether this method can permanently reduce and thus cure tinnitus," said senior author Christian Gerloff, M.D, of the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

Many people experience tinnitus, defined as the perception of sound in the absence of an obvious source, at some point in their lives. For most of us, it is a temporary and benign oddity with a host of causes, such as ear infection, blockage of the ear canal, or medications such as antibiotics.

For more than forty million Americans, however, tinnitus is an ongoing problem. It is especially prevalent among the elderly and those with some degree of hearing loss. According to the American Tinnitus Association, a patient advocacy group, some twelve million Americans seek medical attention for the disorder, and about one million are affected to the point of disability.

In some cases a mechanical sound source, such as a damaged artery or other blood vessel disorder, can be identified and treated, but for most forms of tinnitus there is little effective treatment.

"Recently, neuroscientists have brought forward a new concept which postulates similarities between tinnitus and chronic pain. According to this concept, sounds that only the patient can detect might be some sort of 'phantom' auditory perception similar to phantom pain," said Gerloff.

By this theory, abnormal brain activity is creating the illusion of sound in the absence of acoustic stimuli.

In order to investigate this possibility, Gerloff and his colleagues used focused magnetic stimulation to temporarily interfere with the activity of specific brain regions in 14 patients with intractable, chronic tinnitus. They focused their attention on auditory association areas, regions of the brain known to specialize in the processing of auditory input.

The researchers found that when they stimulated a region called the left temporoparietal cortex, which contains several auditory association areas, tinnitus was temporarily reduced in most of the patients. There was no statistically significant reduction when other brain areas were stimulated.

The authors note that only 8 of the 14 patients experienced tinnitus relief during more than one of the five stimulations of the left temporoparietal cortex. Indeed, one patient reported a slight temporary worsening of the tinnitus, which suggests that the situation is not as simple as the nerve cells in the temporoparietal cortex being the source of all tinnitus sounds. However, the findings do provide clues for further research.

"Knowing that these brain areas are functionally relevant for tinnitus makes them a primary target for modern therapeutic approaches based on brain stimulation methods," said Gerloff.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Neurological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Neurological Association. "Brain Can Generate Unexplained Noise In Ears." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 December 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/12/021226072126.htm>.
American Neurological Association. (2002, December 26). Brain Can Generate Unexplained Noise In Ears. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/12/021226072126.htm
American Neurological Association. "Brain Can Generate Unexplained Noise In Ears." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/12/021226072126.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins