The mechanisms of tinnitus: perspectives from human functional neuroimaging

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Adjamian, P ; Sereda, M ; Hall, DA (2009)

In this review, we highlight the contribution of advances in human neuroimaging to the current understanding of central mechanisms underpinning tinnitus and explain how interpretations of neuroimaging data have been guided by animal models. The primary motivation for studying the neural substrates of tinnitus in humans has been to demonstrate objectively its representation in the central auditory system and to develop a better understanding of its diverse pathophysiology and of the functional interplay between sensory, cognitive and affective systems. The ultimate goal of neuroimaging is to identify subtypes of tinnitus in order to better inform treatment strategies. The three neural mechanisms considered in this review may provide a basis for TI classification. While human neuroimaging evidence strongly implicates the central auditory system and emotional centres in TI, evidence for the precise contribution from the three mechanisms is unclear because the data are somewhat inconsistent. We consider a number of methodological issues limiting the field of human neuroimaging and recommend approaches to overcome potential inconsistency in results arising from poorly matched participants, lack of appropriate controls and low statistical power.
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