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Prog Brain Res. 2007;166:83-8.

Functional imaging of chronic tinnitus: the use of positron emission tomography.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstrasse 84, 93053, Regensburg, Germany.


Recent advances in functional imaging have opened new possibilities for understanding tinnitus. Especially, positron emission tomography (PET) has been increasingly used in the last two decades to identify cortical networks, which are involved in the generation of various forms of chronic tinnitus. PET studies have confirmed that the anatomical location of the anomalies that cause many forms of tinnitus are regions of the brain that are normally involved in auditory processing as well as regions engaged in emotional processing. These findings have contributed to the development of new more causally oriented treatment strategies. In particular, identification of increased activity of the auditory cortex by PET has prompted the use of focal brain stimulation techniques such as electrical or transcranial magnetic stimulation in treatment of tinnitus. PET studies that map distinct neurochemical pathways and receptors by the use of specific ligands may in the future provide new possibilities for pharmacologically based treatment of some forms of tinnitus.

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