Electrical stimulation of auditory and somatosensory cortices for treatment of tinnitus and pain.Prog Brain Res. 2007; 166:377-88.PB
The efficacy of electrical stimulation of the auditory cortex using extradural implanted electrodes for treatment of tinnitus was studied in 12 patients suffering tinnitus. The effect of similar stimulation of the somatosensory cortex for treatment of neuropathic pain was studied in five patients. It was shown that patients with pure tone type of tinnitus experienced a significant 97% suppression on average while those who had noise type tinnitus only had non-significant 24% suppression. All patients with pain experienced a significant reduction of their pain (using a visual analog scale), and in four out of five it was clinically relevant, i.e., the patient is really helped by it. It is concluded that electrical stimulation of sensory cortices can be effective treatments of severe unilateral tinnitus and unilateral neuropathic pain in selected patients. The results suggest that similar pathophysiological mechanisms underlie some forms of these phantom sensations, and therefore, similar treatment such as electrical stimulation of the respective sensory cortices can suppress tinnitus and pain.