Tinnitus is the perception of an internally generated sound that is postulated to emerge as a result of structural and functional changes in the brain. However, the precise pathophysiology of tinnitus remains unknown. Llinas' thalamocortical dysrhythmia model suggests that neural deafferentation due to hearing loss causes a dysregulation of coherent activity between thalamus and auditory cortex. This leads to a pathological coupling of theta and gamma oscillatory activity in the resting state, localised to the auditory cortex where normally alpha oscillations should occur. Numerous studies also suggest that tinnitus perception relies on the interplay between auditory and non-auditory brain areas. According to the Global Brain Model, a network of global fronto-parietal-cingulate areas is important in the generation and maintenance of the conscious perception of tinnitus. Thus, the distress experienced by many individuals with tinnitus is related to the top-down influence of this global network on auditory areas. In this magnetoencephalographic study, we compare resting-state oscillatory activity of tinnitus participants and normal-hearing controls to examine effects on spectral power as well as functional and effective connectivity. The analysis is based on beamformer source projection and an atlas-based region-of-interest approach. We find increased functional connectivity within the auditory cortices in the alpha band. A significant increase is also found for the effective connectivity from a global brain network to the auditory cortices in the alpha and beta bands. We do not find evidence of effects on spectral power. Overall, our results provide only limited support for the thalamocortical dysrhythmia and Global Brain models of tinnitus.
|Publication status||Published - 23 Mar 2015|
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