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Brain Topogr. 2006 Summer;18(4):241-7. Epub 2006 Jul 15.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of tinnitus: a new coil positioning method and first results.

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Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.


Auditory phantom perceptions are associated with hyperactivity of the central auditory system. Neuronavigation guided repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the area of increased activity was demonstrated to reduce tinnitus perception. The study aimed at developing an easy applicable standard procedure for transcranial magnetic stimulation of the primary auditory cortex and to investigate this coil positioning strategy for the treatment of chronic tinnitus in clinical practice. The left gyrus of Heschl was targeted in 25 healthy subjects using a frameless stereotactical system. Based on individual scalp coordinates of the coil, a positioning strategy with reference to the 10--20-EEG system was developed. Using this coil positioning approach we started an open treatment trial. 28 patients with chronic tinnitus received 10 sessions of rTMS (intensity 110% of motor threshold, 1 Hz, 2000 Stimuli/day). Being within a range of about 20 mm diameter, the scalp coordinates for stimulating the primary auditory cortex allowed to determine a standard procedure for coil positioning. Clinical validation of this coil positioning method resulted in a significant improvement of tinnitus complaints (p<0.001). The newly developed coil positioning strategy may have the potential to offer a more easy-to-use stimulation approach for treating chronic tinnitus as compared with highly sophisticated, imaging guided treatment methods.

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