Center researchers, who have been studying tinnitus for more than a decade, will use this animal model to monitor the activity of individual neurons in the animals' brains where the phantom sounds of tinnitus are thought to occur in a new study funded by a $167,000 grant from the American Tinnitus Association.
The novel behavior paradigm, which involved training the animals to abstain from drinking when they perceive sound, is described in the April issue of Hearing Research.
"Having this animal model to work with and to observe will allow us to make significant strides in identifying the underlying neural mechanisms of this condition," said Richard Salvi, Ph.D., director of the Center for Hearing & Deafness and primary researcher on the new study. "We hope this research will bring us closer to finding a treatment for tinnitus and to providing relief to the millions who suffer from it.
"The neural mechanisms that give rise to the phantom sound of tinnitus are not well understood because of the limited number of animal models available to work with," continued Salvi, professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. "This new model gives us the ability to have an animal make a behavioral response to tell us it hears the phantom sound of tinnitus and to measure what is going on in the brain at the same time. No one has been able to do this before in a 'behaving' animal."
The model was developed by Edward Lobarinas, a doctoral student in the UB Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences and a member of the center. The rats were trained to drink from their water dispenser during periods of qu
Contact: Lois Baker
University at Buffalo