Pinpointing a Highly Specific Pathological Functional Connection That Turns Phantom Sound into Distress
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Cerebral cortex. - New York
, p. 2268-2282
University of Antwerp
It has been suggested that an auditory phantom percept is the result of multiple, parallel but overlapping networks. One of those networks encodes tinnitus loudness and is electrophysiologically separable from a nonspecific distress network. The present study investigates how these networks anatomically overlap, what networks are involved, and how and when these networks interact. Electroencephalography data of 317 tinnitus patients and 256 healthy subjects were analyzed, using independent component analysis. Results demonstrate that tinnitus is characterized by at least 2 major brain networks, each consisting of multiple independent components. One network reflects tinnitus distress, while another network reflects the loudness of the tinnitus. The component coherence analysis shows that the independent components that make up the distress and loudness networks communicate within their respective network at several discrete frequencies in parallel. The distress and loudness networks do not intercommunicate for patients without distress, but do when patients are distressed by their tinnitus. The obtained data demonstrate that the components that build up these 2 separable networks communicate at discrete frequencies within the network, and only between the distress and loudness networks in those patients in whom the symptoms are also clinically linked.