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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 May;152(5):919-26. doi: 10.1177/0194599815571556. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Effects of mindfulness based stress reduction therapy on subjective bother and neural connectivity in chronic tinnitus.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA RolandL@ent.wustl.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA.
3
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the impact of a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in patients with chronic bothersome tinnitus on the (1) severity of symptoms of tinnitus and (2) functional connectivity in neural attention networks.

STUDY DESIGN:

Open-label interventional pilot study.

SETTING:

Outpatient academic medical center.

SUBJECTS:

A total of 13 adult participants with a median age of 55 years, suffering from bothersome tinnitus.

METHODS:

An 8-week MBSR program was conducted by a trained MBSR instructor. The primary outcome measure was the difference in patient-reported tinnitus symptoms using the Tinnitus Handicap Index (THI) and Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) between pre-intervention, post-MBSR, and 4-week post-MBSR assessments. Secondary outcomes included change in measurements of depression, anxiety, mindfulness, and cognitive abilities. Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at pre- and post-MBSR intervention time points to serve as a neuroimaging biomarker of critical cortical networks.

RESULTS:

Scores on the THI and TFI showed statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement over the course of the study with a median ΔTHI of -16 and median ΔTFI of -14.8 between baseline and 4-week follow-up scores. Except for depression, there was no significant change in any of the secondary outcome measures. Analysis of the resting state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) data showed increased connectivity in the post-MBSR group in attention networks but not the default network.

CONCLUSION:

Participation in an MBSR program is associated with decreased severity in tinnitus symptoms and depression and connectivity changes in neural attention networks. MBSR is a promising treatment option for chronic bothersome tinnitus that is both noninvasive and inexpensive.

KEYWORDS:

functional connectivity MRI; neuroplasticity; tinnitus

PMID:
25715350
PMCID:
PMC4650869
DOI:
10.1177/0194599815571556
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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