PUT THE POLITICIANS ON THE MINIMUM WAGE AND WATCH HOW FAST THINGS CHANGE
Civilisation has operated in two ways - To make one part of society more affluent and the other more wretched than would have been the lot of either in a natural state
There are Natural Rights and Civil Rights. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Where Our Power to Execute Our Natural Rights is Perfect, Government has No Legitimate Jurisdiction
When the Forces for War are Greater than the Forces for Peace   Then the World is in Danger
Politics is not a Dirty Word. It is a Way of Life. How is Your Way of Life Today ?

Tinnitus – The Constant Noise in My Head

Nerve implant retrains your brain to stop tinnitus

 

GOT that ringing in your ears? Tinnitus, the debilitating condition that plagued

 

Beethoven and Darwin, affects roughly 10 per cent of the world’s population,

 

including 30 million people in the US alone. Now, a device based on vagus nerve

 

stimulation promises to eliminate the sounds for good by retraining the brain.

 

At the moment, many chronic sufferers turn to state of the art hearing aids

 

configured to play specific tones meant to cancel out the tinnitus. But these do not

 

always work because they just mask the noise.

 

The new device, developed by MicroTransponder in Dallas, Texas, works in an

 

entirely different way. The Serenity System uses a transmitter connected to the

 

vagus nerve in the neck – the vagus nerve connects the brain to many of the

 

body’s organs.

 

The thinking goes that most cases of chronic tinnitus result from changes in the

 

signals sent from the ear to neurons in the brain’s auditory cortex. This device is

 

meant to retrain those neurons to forget the annoying noise.

 

To use the system, a person wears headphones and listens to computer-generated

 

sounds. First, they listen to tones that trigger the tinnitus before being played

 

different frequencies close to the problematic one.

 

Meanwhile, the implant stimulates the vagus nerve with small pulses. The pulses

 

trigger the release of chemicals that increase the brain’s ability to reconfigure

 

itself. The process has already worked in rats (Nature, doi.org/b63kt9) and in a

 

small human trial this year, where it helped around half of the participants.

 

“Vagus nerve stimulation takes advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity – the

 

ability to reconfigure itself,” says Michael Kilgard at the University of Texas at

 

Dallas, and a consultant to MicroTransponder.

 

 

Four clinical trials of the system, funded by the National Institutes of Health, are

 

taking place at US universities, and Kilgard thinks a consumer version could be

 

approved by mid-2015.

 

Fatima Husain at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign cautions that

 

because the implant is an invasive procedure it will only be a good idea for people

 

whose lives are extremely affected by the condition. But if the mechanism that

 

generates tinnitus can be reset, it could work, she says.

 

This article appeared in print under the headline “Remodel brain to ignore bad

 

buzzing in the ears”

Similar Recent Posts by this Author:

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email