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  • 1/15/2011

'New device may silence tinnitus'

new device may silence tinnitus

A new animal study has suggested that stimulating a neck nerve and playing sounds to "reboot" the brain may ease tinnitus, chronic ringing in the ears.

The researchers stimulated a nerve named vagus in a group of rats while simultaneously playing a variety of sound tones over an extended period of time for them to increase the numbers of neurons tuned to frequencies other than the tinnitus frequency.

Meanwhile, a control group of rats received vagus nerve stimulation without any other therapy or playing tones.

Studying the nerves activity in both groups and comparing the findings showed scientists that vagus nerve stimulation while listening to different tones is effective in relieving tinnitus, according to the results published in the journal Nature.

In people with tinnitus, it is believed that "the part of the brain that processes sounds -- the auditory cortex -- delegates too many neurons to some frequencies and things begin to go awry. Because there are too many neurons processing the same frequencies, they are firing much stronger than they should be," said Michael Kilgard, from the University of Texas.

"The key is that, unlike previous treatments, we’re not masking the tinnitus, we’re not hiding the tinnitus," he said. "We are returning the brain from a state where it generates tinnitus to a state that does not generate tinnitus. We are eliminating the source of the tinnitus."

The researchers from the University of Texas and Micro Transponder Inc. who conducted the study are planning to begin the human test of their new treatment in the coming months in Europe.

Source: presstv.ir

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