Neural Plasticity to Treat Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Research News' started by erik, Oct 30, 2012.

tinnitus forum
    1. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Targeted sounds and VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulation) to desensitize the overactive neural networks thus calming tinnitus....

      Full research link


      Abstract

      The functional organization of cortical and subcortical networks can be altered by sensory experience. Sensory deprivation destabilizes neural networks resulting in increased excitability, greater neural synchronization and increased spontaneous firing in cortical and subcortical neurons. This pathological activity is thought to generate the phantom percept of chronic tinnitus. While sound masking, pharmacotherapy and cortical stimulation can temporarily suppress tinnitus for some patients, these interventions do not eliminate the pathological activity that is responsible for tinnitus. A treatment that could reverse the underlying pathology would be expected to be effective in alleviating the symptoms, if not curative. Targeted neural plasticity can provide the specificity required to restore normal neural activity in dysfunctional neural circuits that are assumed to underlie many forms of tinnitus. The forebrain cholinergic system and the noradrenergic system play a significant role in modulating cortical plasticity. Stimulation of the vagus nerve is known to activate these neuromodulatory pathways. Our earlier studies have demonstrated that pairing sounds with either nucleus basalis of Meynert (NB) stimulation or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) generates highly specific and long lasting plasticity in auditory cortex neurons. Repeatedly pairing tones with brief pulses of VNS reversed the physiological and behavioral correlates of tinnitus in noise exposed rats. We also recently demonstrated that VNS modulates synchrony and excitability in the auditory cortex at least in part by activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, suggesting that acetylcholine is involved in the mechanism of action of VNS. These results suggest that pairing sounds with VNS provides a new avenue of treatment for some forms of tinnitus. This paper discusses neuromodulation as treatment for tinnitus with a focus on the potential value of pairing VNS with sound stimulation as a treatment of chronic tinnitus.
       
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    2. BOB3000

      BOB3000 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2002
      How do they know what kind of "sounds" the rats have? Since im having multiple sounds in my ears I have no idea what frequencies they are on.
       
    3. Chicken

      Chicken Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2011
      so Erik is this treatment viable to tinnitus patients now or is it in research for people with chronic T - I believe they use VNS for people who have seizures.
       
    4. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Bob, good question. Scientists do know that rats have ultrasonic hearing at a range far greater than human hearing so they much have some way of measuring it.

      Chicken, not sure if this is viable or even available right now but it maybe down the road. There are several studies being conducted on rTMS and other types of Magnetic Stimulation of the VNS/Brain to suppress Tinnitus right now.
       
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    5. dianerose

      dianerose Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2006
      Thanks Eric. That looks promising. Its interesting that sensory deprivation causes the overstimulation, it makes sense to me though. Id sign up for that if there was a list. I've always thought this is a pathological loop that is reinforcing itself. I bet its something simple (difficult to find) to break the cycle that causes us so much grief. I don't like to take medications so this gives me hope. Thank you so much
      Diane
       
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    6. mock turtle

      mock turtle Member

      Location:
      puget sound
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/26/1992...habituated after 2 years; 11/04/11 new outbreak
      i saw this link

      http://www.microtransponder.com/?p=679

      with this story from the company so i dont know how much cred to put to it but for what its worth....

      "NIH – NIDCD Awards a $2.65 Million Grant for 30-Patient Tinnitus Clinical Trial
      MicroTransponder has received notice of a $2.65 Million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). This grant will fund a 30-patient clinical trial in the U.S. starting in 2013. The research team at the Company is grateful to the U.S. academic research community for the support of our efforts to develop a novel treatment for tinnitus. We will be using our Serenity™ System in the clinical trial to deliver Paired Stimulation Therapy, where small bursts of stimulation are applied to the vagus nerve in the neck as the patient hears non-tinnitus tones via headphones. Additional information will be published on our website www.microtransponder.com and www.clinicaltrials.gov in the coming months."

      well see what the army has to say a year or two from now?
       

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