Targeting Heterogeneous Findings in Neuronal Oscillations in Tinnitus: Analyzing MEG Novices and Mental Health Comorbidities
Abstract Tinnitus is a prevalent phenomenon and bothersome for people affected by it. Its occurrence and maintenance have a clear neuroscientific tie and one aspect are differences in the neuronal oscillatory pattern, especially in auditory cortical areas. As studies in this field come to different results, the aim of this study was to analyze a large number of participants to achieve more stable results. Furthermore, we expanded our analysis to two variables of potential influence, namely being a novice to neuroscientific measurements and the exclusion of psychological comorbidities. Oscillatory brain activity of 88 subjects (46 with a chronic tinnitus percept, 42 without) measured in resting state by MEG was investigated. In the analysis based on the whole group, in sensor space increased activity in the delta frequency band was found in tinnitus patients. Analyzing the subgroup of novices, a significant difference in the theta band emerged additionally to the delta band difference (sensor space). Localizing the origin of the activity, we found a difference in theta and gamma band for the auditory regions for the whole group and the same significant difference in the subgroup of novices. However, no differences in oscillatory activity were observed between tinnitus and control groups once subjects with mental health comorbidity were excluded. Against the background of previous studies, the study at hand underlines the fragility of the results in the field of neuronal cortical oscillations in tinnitus. It supports the body of research arguing for low frequency oscillations and gamma band activity as markers associated with tinnitus.
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