Posts Tagged tinnitus

[Abstract] Effects of Electrical Stimulation in Tinnitus Patients: Conventional Versus High-Definition tDCS


Background. Contradictory results have been reported for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as treatment for tinnitus. The recently developed high-definition tDCS (HD tDCS) uses smaller electrodes to limit the excitation to the desired brain areas.

Objective. The current study consisted of a retrospective part and a prospective part, aiming to compare 2 tDCS electrode placements and to explore effects of HD tDCS by matched pairs analyses.

Methods. Two groups of 39 patients received tDCS of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) or tDCS of the right supraorbital–left temporal area (RSO-LTA). Therapeutic effects were assessed with the tinnitus functional index (TFI), a visual analogue scale (VAS) for tinnitus loudness, and the hyperacusis questionnaire (HQ) filled out at 3 visits: pretherapy, posttherapy, and follow-up. With a new group of patients and in a similar way, the effects of HD tDCS of the right DLPFC were assessed, with the tinnitus questionnaire (TQ) and the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) added.

Results. TFI total scores improved significantly after both tDCS and HD tDCS (DLPFC: P < .01; RSO-LTA: P < .01; HD tDCS: P = .05). In 32% of the patients, we observed a clinically significant improvement in TFI. The 2 tDCS groups and the HD tDCS group showed no differences on the evolution of outcomes over time (TFI: P = .16; HQ: P = .85; VAS: P = .20).

Conclusions. TDCS and HD tDCS resulted in a clinically significant improvement in TFI in 32% of the patients, with the 3 stimulation positions having similar results. Future research should focus on long-term effects of electrical stimulation.

via Effects of Electrical Stimulation in Tinnitus Patients: Conventional Versus High-Definition tDCS – Laure Jacquemin, Giriraj Singh Shekhawat, Paul Van de Heyning, Griet Mertens, Erik Fransen, Vincent Van Rompaey, Vedat Topsakal, Julie Moyaert, Jolien Beyers, Annick Gilles, 2018

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[WEB SITE] Vagus nerve stimulation and upper limb rehabilitation.

The Upper Limb and Stroke

Arm weakness is common after stroke and its treatment is recognised as an area of considerable need.1 Approximately 85% of patients with stroke present with arm weakness2 and 60% of stroke survivors with poorly functioning arms at one week do not recover meaningful function by six months.3 Arm weakness is a major factor contributing to disability following stroke.4Current treatment for arm weakness typically comprises intensive, task-specific and repetitive rehabilitative interventions or occasionally methods such as constraint induced movement therapy and robotic therapy.5 A recent meta-analysis and large-scale trials show the effects of current treatments for arm weakness to be modest.6,7  Improvement in arm function should improve quality of life for stroke survivors, reduce co-morbidities associated with loss of independence, and reduce cost to the health care system.

Neuroplasticity and Recovery

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways in response to injury or disease. It has been a target for the treatment of many neurological disorders including epilepsy and tinnitus. Recent studies have suggested that augmentation of neuroplasticity is required to more fully recover motor function.9 Novel techniques that drive the growth of new neural pathways related to motor function are needed;  vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) may achieve this.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

VNS is the delivery of small electrical impulses to the vagus nerve (Figure 1). VNS activates neurons in the basal forebrain and locus coeruleus and results in the release of acetylcholine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are known to facilitate the reorganisation of cortical networks.10 VNS is already used to treat patients with medically refractory epilepsy, with studies showing a reduction in seizure frequency of 50% in 24.5 to 46.6% of patients.11,12,13 In excess of 75,000 patients with refractory epilepsy have been implanted with VNS devices.14  The concept of using VNS to restore normal neuronal activity / drive neuroplasticity is under investigation in other chronic neurological conditions.

In noise induced tinnitus, cochlear trauma can lead to a disorganised auditory cortex resulting in chronic symptoms.15,16,17 The severity of tinnitus is related to the degree of map re-organisation in the auditory cortex.15,16,17  In pre-clinical studies, pairing auditory tones with brief pulses of VNS has been shown to cause re-organisation of auditory cortex maps specific to that tone.18 Further, noise-exposed rats were noted to have a significant reduction in startle response, presumably due to tinnitus, and pairing VNS with multiple tones reversed this effect.18 Thus, VNS paired with a specific stimulus may drive neuroplasticity specifically for that stimulus, thereby restoring auditory cortex architecture and reducing tinnitus. Studies suggest that VNS may help humans with tinnitus.19 Ten patients known to have unilateral or bilateral tinnitus for over a year received four weeks of VNS paired with auditory tone therapy (using MicroTransponder Inc’s Serenity© system). Subjective and objective primary outcome measures were identified in the form of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and the Minimum Masking Level (MML). In patients who had not been taking drugs which could interfere with VNS (muscarinic antagonists, noradrenergic reuptake inhibitors and γ-amino butyric acid agonists), a significant fall in THI of 28.17% was seen following VNS paired with auditory tones.19 Three out of five such patients had a clinically meaningful decrease in THI (44.3% decrease).19 Similar results were seen in the MML test which detects the lowest level of noise required to “drown out” the tinnitus. Results of a recently completed and larger, double blind and randomised study of VNS paired with auditory tones in tinnitus are eagerly awaited. Another study looked at the use of transcutaneous vagus nerve (t-VNS) stimulation in tinnitus. When used in combination with sound therapy t-VNS was found to modulate auditory cortical activation, resulting in reduced tinnitus and tinnitus associated distress.20

Figure 1: © Images copyright of MicroTransponder The stimulation electrodes of the leads are placed on the left vagus nerve in the left carotid sheath, and the lead is then tunnelled subcutaneously to a subcutaneous pocket created in the left pectoral region where it is attached to the pulse generator. A wireless control interface is used to communicate with the VNS device and deliver stimulation during therapy sessions.

Continue —>  Vagus nerve stimulation and upper limb rehabilitation | ACNR | Online Neurology Journal

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[ARTICLE] Non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of symptoms following traumatic brain injury – CNS

Front Psychiatry. 2015 Aug 26

BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common cause of physical,psychological, and cognitive impairment, but many current treatments for TBI are ineffective or produce adverse side effects. Non-invasive methods of brain stimulation could help ameliorate some common trauma-induced symptoms.

OBJECTIVE: This review summarizes instances in which repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) have been used to treat symptoms following a TBI. A subsequent discussion attempts to determine the value of these methods in light of their potential risks.

METHODS: The research databases of PubMed/MEDLINE and PsycINFO were electronically searched using terms relevant to the use of rTMS and tDCS as a tool to decrease symptoms in the context of rehabilitation post-TBI.

RESULTS: Eight case-studies and four multi-subject reports using rTMS and sixmulti–subject studies using tDCS were found. Two instances of seizure are discussed.

CONCLUSION: There is evidence that rTMS can be an effective treatment option for some post-TBI symptoms, such as depression, tinnitus, and neglect. Although the safety of this method remains uncertain, the use of rTMS in cases of mild TBI without obvious structural damage may be justified. Evidence on the effectiveness of tDCS is mixed, highlighting the need for additional investigations.

Source: Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide – Research Reports – Non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of symptoms following traumatic brain injury

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