Changes of oscillatory activity in pitch processing network and related tinnitus relief induced by acoustic CR neuromodulation

Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine - Neuromodulation, Research Center Jülich, Jülich, Germany.
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 04/2012; 6:18. DOI: 10.3389/fnsys.2012.00018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Chronic subjective tinnitus is characterized by abnormal neuronal synchronization in the central auditory system. As shown in a controlled clinical trial, acoustic coordinated reset (CR) neuromodulation causes a significant relief of tinnitus symptoms along with a significant decrease of pathological oscillatory activity in a network comprising auditory and non-auditory brain areas, which is often accompanied with a significant tinnitus pitch change. Here we studied if the tinnitus pitch change correlates with a reduction of tinnitus loudness and/or annoyance as assessed by visual analog scale (VAS) scores. Furthermore, we studied if the changes of the pattern of brain synchrony in tinnitus patients induced by 12 weeks of CR therapy depend on whether or not the patients undergo a pronounced tinnitus pitch change. Therefore, we applied standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) to EEG recordings from two groups of patients with a sustained CR-induced relief of tinnitus symptoms with and without tinnitus pitch change. We found that absolute changes of VAS loudness and VAS annoyance scores significantly correlate with the modulus, i.e., the absolute value, of the tinnitus pitch change. Moreover, as opposed to patients with small or no pitch change we found a significantly stronger decrease in gamma power in patients with pronounced tinnitus pitch change in right parietal cortex (Brodmann area, BA 40), right frontal cortex (BA 9, 46), left temporal cortex (BA 22, 42), and left frontal cortex (BA 4, 6), combined with a significantly stronger increase of alpha (10-12 Hz) activity in the right and left anterior cingulate cortex (ACC; BA 32, 24). In addition, we revealed a significantly lower functional connectivity in the gamma band between the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 46) and the right ACC (BA 32) after 12 weeks of CR therapy in patients with pronounced pitch change. Our results indicate a substantial, CR-induced reduction of tinnitus-related auditory binding in a pitch processing network.

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    ABSTRACT: To describe the quantitative treatment outcomes of patients undergoing acoustic coordinated reset (CR) neuromodulation at a single independent audiology practice over a 22- to 26-week period as part of an open label, non-randomized, non-controlled observational study. Sixty-six patients with subjective tonal tinnitus were treated with acoustic CR neuromodulation with a retrospective review of patient records being performed in order to identify changes of visual analog scale (VAS, n = 66) and in the score of the tinnitus handicap questionnaire (THQ, n = 51). Patients had their tinnitus severity recorded prior to the initiation of therapy using the tinnitus handicap inventory in order to categorize patients into slight up to catastrophic impact categories. THQ and VAS for tinnitus loudness/annoyance were obtained at the patient's initial visit, at 10-14 and 22-26 weeks. Visual analog scale scores were significantly improved, demonstrating a 25.8% mean reduction in tinnitus loudness and a 32% mean reduction in tinnitus annoyance with a clinically significant reduction in percept loudness and annoyance being recorded in 59.1 and 72.7% of the patient group. THQ scores were significantly improved by 19.4% after 22-26 weeks of therapy compared to baseline. Acoustic CR neuromodulation therapy appears to be a practical and promising treatment for subjective tonal tinnitus. However, due to the lack of a control group it is difficult to reach an absolute conclusion regarding to what extent the observed effects are related directly to the acoustic CR neuromodulation therapy. Also, as the observed patient group was made up of paying clients it is unknown as to whether this could have caused any additional placebo like effects to influence the final results.
    Frontiers in Neurology 01/2015; 6:54. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2015.00054
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    ABSTRACT: Tinnitus is the conscious perception of sound heard in the absence of physical sound sources external or internal to the body, reflected in aberrant neural synchrony of spontaneous or resting-state brain activity. Neural synchrony is generated by the nearly simultaneous firing of individual neurons, of the synchronization of membrane-potential changes in local neural groups as reflected in the local field potentials, resulting in the presence of oscil-latory brain waves in the EEG. Noise-induced hearing loss, often resulting in tinnitus, causes a reorganization of the tonotopic map in auditory cortex and increased spontaneous firing rates and neural synchrony. Spontaneous brain rhythms rely on neural synchrony. Abnormal neural synchrony in tinnitus appears to be confined to specific frequency bands of brain rhythms. Increases in delta-band activity are generated by deafferented/deprived neuronal networks resulting from hearing loss. Coordinated reset (CR) stimulation was developed in order to specifically counteract such abnormal neuronal synchrony by desynchronization. The goal of acoustic CR neuromodulation is to desynchronize tinnitus-related abnormal delta-band oscillations. CR neuromodulation does not require permanent stimulus delivery in order to achieve long-lasting desynchronization or even a full-blown anti-kindling but may have cumulative effects, i.e., the effect of different CR epochs separated by pauses may accumulate. Unlike other approaches, acoustic CR neuromodulation does not intend to reduce tinnitus-related neuronal activity by employing lateral inhibition. The potential efficacy of acoustic CR modulation was shown in a clinical proof of concept trial, where effects achieved in 12 weeks of treatment delivered 4–6 h/day persisted through a preplanned 4-week therapy pause and showed sustained long-term effects after 10 months of therapy, leading to 75% responders.
    Frontiers in Neurology 02/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2015.00029
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging studies have identified networks of brain areas and oscillations associated with tinnitus perception. However, how these regions relate to perceptual characteristics of tinnitus, and how oscillations in various frequency bands are associated with communications within the tinnitus network is still incompletely understood. Recent evidence suggests that apart from changes of the tinnitus severity the changes of tinnitus dominant pitch also have modulating effect on the underlying neuronal activity in a number of brain areas within the tinnitus network. Therefore, in a re-analysis of an existing dataset, we sought to determine how the oscillations in the tinnitus network in the various frequency bands interact. We also investigate how changes of tinnitus loudness, annoyance and pitch affect cross-frequency interaction both within and between nodes of the tinnitus network. Results of this study provide, to our knowledge, the first evidence that in tinnitus patients, aside from the previously described changes of oscillatory activity, there are also changes of cross-frequency coupling (CFC); phase-amplitude CFC was increased in tinnitus patients within the auditory cortex and the dorsolateral prefrontal regions between the phase of delta-theta and the amplitude of gamma oscillations (Modulation Index [MI] 0.17 in tinnitus patients vs. 0.08 in tinnitus free controls). Moreover, theta phase in the anterior cingulate region modulated gamma in the auditory (MI 0.1) and dorsolateral prefrontal regions (MI 0.19). Reduction of tinnitus severity after acoustic coordinated reset therapy led to a partial normalization of abnormal CFC. Also treatment induced changes in tinnitus pitch significantly modulated changes in CFC. Thus, tinnitus perception is associated with a more pronounced CFC within and between nodes of the tinnitus network. CFC can coordinate tinnitus-relevant activity in the tinnitus network providing a mechanism for effective communication between nodes of this network.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 09/2014; 8:284. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2014.00284