IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

a possible treatment for some tinnitus?

tonyjeffs at aol.com tonyjeffs at aol.com
Mon Dec 30 17:40:41 EST 1996

I don't think I belong on this group. I'm very much out of my depth with a
lot of the discussions. But anyway...

I'm interested in tinnitus because I've got it. Would the following
proposed treatment conceivably work in some cases?

I'm aware that there is some debate about whether tinnitus is more
commonly a brain or a cochlear fault and this suggested treatment could
only be of possible use where  the source of the problem resides withinin
the ear. The idea comes from an article I read concerning very promising
work by Dr Blaxendale at Glasgow Univ,UK, aimed at controlling nerve
signals to the bladder and other locations in a way which is similar, I
think, to the way  a field effect transistor works.

Applying this to the ear:
It involves wrapping an *insulated* anode around the nerve. No current is
directed into the nerve. The static positive charge on the anode causes a
depletion of positive ions in the nerve fibres at that point. Consequently
nerve communication from the ear to the brain (and back) is  blocked,
since there is a break in the chain of ions required to relay the signal

If this works, it would have advantages and disadvantages such as:

1) total deafness and loss of balance  while the device was in operation,
but only if the device was used bilaterally. There are many people with
tinnitus above 85dB who would be glad of a silent break like this.

2) there would be no deterioration as might otherwise be caused by
comparable experiments which involve feeding a current into the nerve,
although the static electrical field might have an undesirable long term
effect on other tissues.
It may be possible to modulate the charge so as to create a variable
volume control rather than a switch.

It is known that in some cases auditory nerve section results in worsening
of tinnitus, although in other cases it doesn't.   As far as I'm aware,
the mechanism of this is not understood.

Theoretically, are there any reasons why it wouldn't work in some cases?
Practically, what about the accessibility to the nerve, the space
available for the installation?



(PS, I wouldn't want to try it myself!) 

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net