It’s now believed that a certain structure in the brain could be very important in finding a tinnitus cure!  Southern Illinois and the University of Illinois at Urbanna-Champaign have received a federal grant to help researchers target a specific part of the brain in order to help cure tinnitus.  These researchers believe that a chemical in the brain called GABA plays a role in tinnitus, and they are receiving a grant of almost one million US dollars in order to help develop a drug to treat the ringing in the ear symptoms that plagues up to to ten percent of the adult population in the United States alone.

Research For Tinnitus CureScientist will be using rats while trying to identify differences in brain chemistry between those with tinnitus and those without.  If they can find and identify these differences, they believe that they can develop an effective drug to help treat tinnitus symptoms, particularly the ringing ears that most people develop that have the condition.  There appears to already be drugs that these researchers have in mind, but they would not identify them.  The fact that they have these drugs already in mind seems very promising to us.  Here is what Dean Olsen had to say in a recent article about this that was posted at www.enterprisenews.com.

Scientists in Springfield, Ill., believe a specific part of the brain will become a useful tool in developing medicines to treat tinnitus, a chronic ringing in the ears that affects millions of Americans.

“We’re looking at this one structure, which we believe is very important in trying to identify tinnitus-related pathology,” said Donald Caspary, professor of pharmacology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

Caspary and colleagues at SIU and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will use a recently awarded $942,500 grant from the federal government to investigate properties of a brain chemical called GABA and how it plays a role in tinnitus.

The three-year grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research will allow SIU’s auditory research group to specifically focus on the auditory thalamus, a small section of the central brain that is inches from inner-ear structures on both sides of the head.

Caspary, principal investigator for the project, said scientists believe this region of the brain may determine the severity of tinnitus, a condition that affects 22.7 million Americans, or 10 percent of the adult population of the United States.

‘Promising’ drugs

Often caused by loud noises, tinnitus can result in debilitating ringing, hissing and buzzing for about 10 percent of tinnitus sufferers.

Tinnitus is “one of the most common service-related disabilities among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,” according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

More than 200 drugs also are known to cause tinnitus, and symptoms of the condition usually get worse with age.

In experiments that use live rats and rat brain tissue, scientists at SIU and the U of I will look for differences in brain chemistry among rats with tinnitus and those without the condition.

“If we can identify differences, and I think we can, between those populations, then we can try to normalize responses from cells in the tinnitus animal using drugs and therefore have a screening tool for effective tinnitus drugs,” Caspary said.

“We can flow the drugs in and see whether we can make the cells in the tinnitus animal behave like the cells in the normal animal,” he said.  You can read the rest of the original article here.

There continues to be a lot of recent press about a possible drug treatment option as cure for tinnitus, so the fact that this article is quoting a researcher as saying that they already have some drugs in mind for a possible treatment option leads us to believe that a tinnitus cure is close at hand.

While we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up unnecessarily, we really do think that giant strides are being made in the area of finding a solution to tinnitus, and the first person to come up with a quick fix pill is likely going to hit the jackpot as well, so there are definitely many incentives to get things moving in this area.

The continued release of grant money should help these researchers target a specific part of the brain in order to help cure tinnitus and find us a simple fix in a pill at some point in the near future.  For now though, we watch and wait, but don’t be surprised if something big hits the scene in the very near future that brings some real relief to our tinnitus symptoms.

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