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Study examines effects of tinnitus on brain structure
Many people suffer from chronic tinnitus. The constant buzzing of ears is not only a burden in everyday life, but could also have an impact on the brain of those affected, according to scientists from the University Hospital Jena (UKJ). The researchers will investigate this question in a comprehensive study and are currently still looking for volunteers to participate in the research project.
In addition to the immediate impairment of hearing, many people with chronic tinnitus also have psychological stress, which in turn can have health consequences. In the planned study, the research team led by Dr. med. Bianca Besteher from the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the UKJ is now investigating "what influence hearing loss, chronic tinnitus and the often resulting psychological stress have on the structure and function of the brain". Healthy subjects are still being sought to participate in the study.
Detailed images of the brain structure
To what extent chronic tinnitus changes the brain is to be clarified in the study with the help of MRI scans. "For this purpose, tinnitus patients and patients with typical psychological complications are examined in the magnetic resonance tomograph for detailed images of the brain structure and the representation of the brain function," said the UKJ announcement. The comparison with the measured values of a healthy control group should make possible deviations clear. The assistant doctor Dr. Besteher was selected with her research project "for a rotation position of the interdisciplinary center for clinical research and can now devote herself exclusively to her research work for one year", reports the UKJ.
Understand the neurobiological basis of tinnitus and its psychological consequences
"The study should help to better understand the neurobiological basis of the stressful ear noises and the development of psychological consequences in order to enable more targeted therapy," emphasizes the study leader. Currently, mentally healthy volunteers without tinnitus between the ages of 40 and 70 are still looking for participation. The study included “in addition to the radiation-free MRI examination, a hearing test and several questionnaires and took about two hours,” the UKJ said. (fp)