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June 2012: CR-Neuromodulation: An Innovative Treatment Approach to Tinnitus

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 2012: CR-Neuromodulation: An Innovative Treatment Approach to Tinnitus

Stress can cause many health problems and acerbate others, including Tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears. Millions of people hear and suffer from Tinnitus, the acoustic phenomenon that occurs without the existence of a real external auditory signal. The annoying continuous sound is not generated by the ear, but rather by abnormally synchronized neural action in characteristic brain areas. Self-organization and plasticity are fundamental mechanisms of the brain: Activity-dependent changes of synaptic connectivity enable the brain to learn and adapt. But, under pathological conditions, such as Tinnitus, synaptic connections may be abnormally strong, so that neurons fire in synchrony.

The Coordinated Reset (CR®) approach, developed by Prof. Peter Tass and his team at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, aims at shifting neuronal populations from a disease state to a healthy state. CR® is a sequence of mild stimuli, which specifically counteracts abnormal synchrony by desynchronization.

The patented CR® neuro-technology was established over the course of more than ten years of scientific work at the Forschungszentrum Jülich. FDA-approved, it is already available for Tinnitus patients as acoustic CR®-neuromodulation in some European countries. This innovative approach, for which Prof. Tass received the 2011 German Innovation Award in Medicine, provides the opportunity to treat other diseases that are characterized by excessive synchronous nerve cell activity, such as Parkinson's disease, and will be studied in further clinical trials.

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