Journal Article

Neuromagnetic indicators of auditory cortical reorganization of tinnitus

Nathan Weisz, Christian Wienbruch, Katalin Dohrmann and Thomas Elbert

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 128, issue 11, pages 2722-2731
Published in print November 2005 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online July 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI:
Neuromagnetic indicators of auditory cortical reorganization of tinnitus

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Animal studies show that following damage to inner-ear receptors, central representations of intact lesion-edge (LE) frequencies become enlarged (map reorganization). One theory of tinnitus holds that this process could be related to the tinnitus sensation. To test this hypothesis, neuromagnetic evoked fields of tinnitus participants with high-frequency hearing loss and normal hearing controls were measured, while subjects listened to monaurally presented LE or control (CO; an octave below LE) tones. The predictions made based on the map reorganization hypothesis of tinnitus were that neuronal responses to LE frequencies would be enhanced, and that source localizations for LE would be distorted. N1m equivalent dipole moments for LE were not supranormal in the tinnitus group, whereas responses to CO of tinnitus patients compared to controls were enlarged in the right hemisphere. This effect was positively associated with tinnitus-related distress. Abnormal source locations were found for generators activated by LE tones in the right hemisphere of the tinnitus group. This right-hemispheric map distortion was not associated with subjective variables of tinnitus. A positive correlation with tinnitus distress was found for the left hemisphere with more anterior sources being associated with enhanced distress. However, this result was independent of the frequency of the stimulus. Overall, the present study suggests that mechanisms of map reorganization, although present in the data, cannot satisfactorily explain the emergence of tinnitus and that differential hemispheric involvement must be considered.

Keywords: magnetencephalography; phantom perceptions; distress; cortical reorganization; tinnitus; CO = control; LE = lesion-edge

Journal Article.  6664 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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