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Scientists search for brain center responsible for tinnitus
Date:10/5/2007

ry cortex turns up the volume, increasing weak neural signals from the cochlea. Increasing the volume of these weak signals may be experienced as the buzzing, ringing, or hissing characteristic of tinnitus. Currently there is no drug or treatment that can abolish these phantom sounds.

Over the past decade, Salvis team has developed the animal models, allowing the researchers to explore the neurophysiological and biological mechanisms associated with tinnitus, the major focus of this new study. Ed Lobarinas, Ph.D., and Wei Sun, Ph.D., in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, developed the models.

One of the major goals of the project is to try to identify the neural signature of tinnitus -- what aberrant pattern of neural activity in the auditory cortex is associated with the onset of tinnitus. In another study phase, the researchers will assess neural activity throughout the entire brain using a radioactive tracer, fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), which is taken up preferentially into regions of the brain that are highly active metabolically.

The third phase of the study involves the use of potential therapeutic drugs to suppress salicylate- or noise-induced tinnitus. In early studies, the researchers have been able to modulate some ion channels with one unique compound, and have been able to completely eliminate aspirin-induced tinnitus using the highest doses of the compound. This phase involves collaboration with scientists at NeuroSearch Pharmaceuticals in Denmark.


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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1417
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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