SAN DIEGO - It's a ringing, a buzzing, a hissing or a clicking - and the patient is the only one who can hear it.
Complicating matters, physicians can rarely pinpoint the source of tinnitus, a chronic ringing of the head or ears that can be as quiet as a whisper or as loud as a jackhammer.
Now a Henry Ford Hospital study finds that a non-invasive imaging technique can actually aid in the diagnosis of tinnitus and may detect a reduction in symptoms after different treatments, offering hope to the more than 50 million patients with tinnitus.
"Until now, we had no way of pinpointing the specific location of tinnitus in the brain," says study co-author Michael D. Seidman, M.D., F.A.C.S., director of the Division of Otologic/Neurotolgic Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.
This imaging technique, magnetoencephalography (MEG), can determine the site of perception of tinnitus in the brain, which could in turn allow physicians to target the area with electrical or chemical therapies to lessen symptoms, according to study results being presented Saturday, Oct. 3 at the American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO.
"Since MEG can detect brain activity occurring at each instant in time, we are able to detect brain activity involved in the network or flow of information across the brain over a 10-minute time interval," explains co-author Susan M. Bowyer, Ph.D. bioscientific senior researcher, Department of Neurology at Henry Ford Hospital. "Using MEG, we can actually see the areas in the brain that are generating the patient's tinnitus, which allows us to target it and treat it."
Imaging techniques currently used to study tinnitus in the brain PET and fMRI provide a general location but are not successful at determining the specific site in the brain that is generating tinnitus symptoms.
MEG, by comparison, measur
|Contact: Krista Hopson|
Henry Ford Health System