ATA Funds $10,000 Research Causes of Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Research News' started by erik, Aug 3, 2012.

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    1. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Research

      PhD Candidate Receives $10,000 Grant to Research Tinnitus
      1344009415771.jpg
      PhD student Sarah Hayes, shown with mentor Richard Salvi, PhD, is researching tinnitus with backing from the American Tinnitus Association and the Defense Department.

      Published August 3, 2012
      A PhD candidate in neuroscience has received a $10,000 grant from the American Tinnitus Association to research the condition characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears.

      “I wanted to do research that is clinically relevant—research with the goal of helping people suffering from a disorder.”
      Sarah Hayes, PhD candidate
      Neuroscience
      Sarah Hayes will use the award to investigate the causes of tinnitus, focusing on the 1 percent of people with the condition who hear these phantom sounds regularly at debilitating levels.
      Defense Department Also Supporting Hayes’ Work
      The U.S. government is so concerned with tinnitus that it is also backing Hayes’ research.
      The Department of Defense granted the third-year PhD candidate a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, which covers her tuition and provides an annual stipend.
      A large number of military personnel suffer from tinnitus—which been linked to noise-induced hearing loss—due to their exposure to blasts and explosions.

      Pioneering UB Researcher Introduced Her to Field
      Hayes became interested in tinnitus while working in the lab of Richard Salvi, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Communicative Disorders and Sciences and a member of the international Tinnitus Research Initiative.
      “I wanted to do research that is clinically relevant—research with the goal of helping people suffering from a disorder or helping to find cures for different neurological disorders,” she says.
      “I’m also interested in the fact that tinnitus is a phantom auditory perception. Trying to understand how we perceive the world is fascinating.”
      For her PhD thesis, Hayes will examine the relationship between tinnitus and stress.
      Although tinnitus itself causes stress, elevated stress can worsen the condition and even make the perceived sound louder. Researchers don’t yet understand the mechanism by which chronic stress may contribute to tinnitus.
      Nor have they discovered a cure for the condition, which affects 20 percent of the population.
      It was previously believed that tinnitus resulted from inner ear damage, but studies conducted by Salvi and colleagues in the 1990s suggest that it originates in the brain.

      Preparing for Future in Clinical Translational Research
      In addition to a PhD in neuroscience, Hayes is working toward a degree in clinical audiology at UB so that she can extend her reach beyond the laboratory.
      “Having a clinical audiology degree will allow me to work with patients and adapt discoveries we make in the lab,” she says.
       
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    2. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      $10,000 is peanuts. It's pathetic.

      If Bill Gates got tinnitus, then we'd see some real money thrown at figuring a way to fix this condition.

      I have read that there are many Iraq war veterans who are coming home with tinnitus. There is increasing pressure on our ineffective Congress to fund tinnitus research.
       
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    3. Markku
      Inspired

      Markku Director Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing
      Blah...

      I guess $10k is better than nothing, but it makes me sad when relatively a tiny sum like $10k makes the news...

      Then again, maybe the news is more about the PhD candidate, and her plans for the future (i.e. the audiology training etc.) than it is about the amount of the grant.
       
    4. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Marku -

      You're probably right, that it's about the PhD candidate, not the money. I was "pretty quick on the draw" writing that comment, skimming the write-up.

      I would like to see more research money thrown at bio-physicists instead of audiologists. In my opinion, we need less research of the medical variety (for example, studies about magnessium and anti-depressants, involving questionares).

      Again, in my opinion, this problem will require some very smart individuals, with the combined talents of medical education and engineering talent, who can look at the human body as a machine. I think that tinnitus can be solved if they use things like MEG/MRI scans, and neurological mapping of the nerve circuitry. That type of thinking seems to be beyond the approaches typically used by audiologists and ENT doctors. There are some extremely smart people out there who I believe can solve this. It's a matter of finding these people and using them.

      As a side note: I was reading one of your earlier interesting blogs was about lidocaine. Apparently lidocaine injections will stop tinnitus in the short term. Whatever happened to that type of research? Was it dropped?
       
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    5. Fish
      Balanced

      Fish Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2012
      Lidocaine is very, very bad for your heart so it cannot really be used long-term. Looks like there's no way around that.
       
    6. daedalus

      daedalus Member

      Location:
      Brussels
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      Karl,

      There are already good neuroscientists like Aage Moller, Berthold Lannguth, Dirk De Ridder and many others who study tinnitus trough neuroimaging and qualitative measures. Look at the phenomenal work of the tinnitus research initiative. I agree with your opinion about the hard sciences. More and more people with an engineering and physics formation study biological systems and that is a good thing.

      And yes, ENT's and audiologists understand jack about tinnitus. :)
       
    7. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      Fish -
      What I mean to say is, lidocaine works, somehow. If they could figure out what it's doing, then there may be another way to do the same thing without using lidocaine.

      daedalus -
      I'm glad to hear about these neuroscientists. There can sometimes be a big difference in research approaches being done in different countries. The different styles of research we are seeing today is somewhat like in the early 1900's when men were trying to build flying machines. There were a lot of ideas about how to fly: Some people built silly bird-shaped contraptions; finally, the Wright brothers got it right. During that discovery period, it was a level playing field between the contestants, until a working flying machine succeeded.

      There is always the danger in a "discovery phase" of being "too democratic", with all ideas being treated equally - ineffectively spending money on every type of research, instead of focusing on what counts. It's a gamble predicting "what counts". This is why organizations like the ATA need very astute decision makers ( but do they have the right people? Reminds me of how the French lost 50,000 men trying to build the Panama Canal, because they used the wrong approach.) There may be only one way to fix tinnitus, but we don't know yet. It is important that the right ideas don't get lost in the bureucracy of professional organizations that may tend to treat all research equally.

      I sort of know what is happening in the U.S. I'm most impressed with the MEG/MRI imaging done at West Texas A&M. That imaging was developed using money from Ford, I believe. That same scan is currently also being tested at Harvard. Perhaps things are on a roll. But if someone rich and powerful enough said, "Let's do it this year", we'd probably see faster progress.
       
    8. daedalus

      daedalus Member

      Location:
      Brussels
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      That rich person is called Matteo de Nora and founded the Tinnitus Research Initiative. They are doing good work.

      http://www.tinnitusresearch.org/
       
    9. Karl

      Karl Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chicago
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2011
      daedalus -
      I went to the website you posted and downloaded a document by A.E. Moller. Will read it tomorrow. But what little I read I liked. I assume he's Scandanavian, so I'm impressed (because of my own ancestry). He qoutes Anne Frank, in the context of setting out to find a cure:“Life is like a game of chess; the first moves are very important, but until the game is over you still have some good moves to play".
      Of course, let's hope that these researchers aren't giving awards to themselves before they've gotten some real results. This past weekend was a bad one for my "T". I need a fix, soon.
       

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