Health: Tinnitus breakthrough

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The Independent Online
A clue to what causes tinnitus - constant ringing, buzzing, roaring or other noises in the ears - has been discovered which may help doctors find a cure for the condition, it was disclosed yesterday. Researchers have pinpointed specific regions of the brain responsible for tinnitus.

Other findings included an abnormal link in tinnitus patients between the auditory system and the limbic system - the brain wiring responsible for emotions - which may explain why tinnitus can be so emotionally crippling.

Dr Alan Lockwood, of the State University of New York at Buffalo, who headed the study, said: "Changes in the brain occur following many forms of neural injury ... These changes may be responsible for symptoms such as phantom limb pain, a syndrome in which amputees feel excruciating pain that seems to originate in the missing limb. We believe that tinnitus may be the auditory counterpart to phantom limb pain."

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