The Mirror

Discussion in 'Alternative Treatments and Research' started by awbw8, Oct 2, 2014.

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    1. awbw8
      Balanced

      awbw8 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2013
      I'm not sure this is the right place for this, since it isn't really a tinnitus treatment per se, but it is a real treatment for something that is in many way similar.

      I know people have compared tinnitus to a kind of phantom limb pain (in some cases) and I was reading this article in The New Yorker and though how nice it would be if there were a way to find a therapy that worked as well for our phantom sounds "pain" as the mirror treatment works for phantom limb pain.

      It's a rather long, but I think worthwhile read. It does, briefly, mention tinnitus. It is about sensory perception originating in the brain rather than in peripheral nerve endings (which may have been long since out of order). Here is a little excerpt:

      Such findings open up a fascinating prospect: perhaps many patients whom doctors treat as having a nerve injury or a disease have, instead, what might be called sensor syndromes. When your car’s dashboard warning light keeps telling you that there is an engine failure, but the mechanics can’t find anything wrong, the sensor itself may be the problem. This is no less true for human beings. Our sensations of pain, itch, nausea, and fatigue are normally protective. Unmoored from physical reality, however, they can become a nightmare: M., with her intractable itching, and H., with his constellation of strange symptoms—but perhaps also the hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone who suffer from conditions like chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic pelvic pain, tinnitus, temporomandibular joint disorder, or repetitive strain injury, where, typically, no amount of imaging, nerve testing, or surgery manages to uncover an anatomical explanation. Doctors have persisted in treating these conditions as nerve or tissue problems—engine failures, as it were. We get under the hood and remove this, replace that, snip some wires. Yet still the sensor keeps going off.

      So we get frustrated. “There’s nothing wrong,” we’ll insist. And, the next thing you know, we’re treating the driver instead of the problem. We prescribe tranquillizers, antidepressants, escalating doses of narcotics. And the drugs often do make it easier for people to ignore the sensors, even if they are wired right into the brain. The mirror treatment, by contrast, targets the deranged sensor system itself. It essentially takes a misfiring sensor—a warning system functioning under an illusion that something is terribly wrong out in the world it monitors—and feeds it an alternate set of signals that calm it down. The new signals may even reset the sensor.

      The mirror treatments seems like such a simple/easy-to-do solution, but it works so well. There is so much we just don't know about the brain and nervous system. Who knows what might help tinnitus one day :)

      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/06/30/the-itch
       
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    2. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      Thank you for sharing. An excellent and inspiring article! Now we need to just figure out a mirror experiment for T. Let us start! :)
       
    3. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
    4. Sjoerd

      Sjoerd Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09-2013
      uhm...interesting article. But this has been know for years!!!! I read A book from a dutch neuro scientist, he described this experiment. The book is at least 5 years old.

      But how to apply for tinnitus? Well, combine any sensory input with sounds? Lets make a machine that combines LED light input with sounds. Sounds could by simple pure tones. You could make some sequences that pair tones with light, followed by light for left and right with just audio on the right etc etc
       
    5. rtwombly
      Bookworm

      rtwombly Member

      Location:
      Southeast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yeah, I'm afraid this is nothing new. TRT essentially attempts to train the brain not to associate the phantom sound with distress. Neurofeedback does what @Sjoerd suggests, applying lights and sounds to brainwave patterns so that a person can learn to inhibit some forms and enhance others.

      None of it cures tinnitus, but it can help.

      The thinking behind more recent efforts to tame the beast is that there's a chemical defect in the brain that perpetuates the sound. It's not really in conflict with what that article describes, except in application. Autifony and others are trying to block the actual generation of phantom sound by changing how the neurons fire. The hope is that the brain will eventually remember the new, non-tinnitus pattern, meaning that the medicine could be stopped.

      There may be a place for continued research in this line. If scanning devices could safely and noiselessly give us a real-time picture of the tinnitus signal, maybe we could learn to dampen it ourselves. But the only way to see it currently, so far as I've read, is fMRI, the noise and expense of which would likely doom any efforts in that direction.
       
    6. Sjoerd

      Sjoerd Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09-2013

      Not sure if neurofeedback is the same. In my view Neuro feedback translate brainwave to picture. For example, if your brain is active the computer generates a clouded beach, if your brain is calm the sun start shining. It you your job to make sure the sun starts shining by calming down your brain.

      This article is about sensory integration. In other words, the brain uses much more information to build a perception. Have you ever eaten a sandwich which had peanut butter on it but you expected it to be strawberry jelly? That happens to me every once in a while. This first bite is very confusing. Exceptions and visual input do influence taste.

      Have you ever tried to balance on one foot with your eye's closed. Now turn your head form the left to the right, see how long you are able to balance on one foot! Most people are barely able to balance one one foot with just their eye's closed.

      If you would cue light with sound input, the brain might be able to see if it should hear something or not. The visual input is some kind of error correction. Give the brain extra sensory input to make the best possible guess of what it should perceive.

      As for me, I have noticed a while back that simply playing my tinnitus tone in my non tinnitus ear influence my perception my my tinnitus ear. Some times I drive my car with just one earplug. If I remove that earplug after 10 minutes my ears feel out of wack for a while. One of my ears feel pressurized, dull en just plain weird.

      In my view this has nothing to do with neuro feedback.
       

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