Tinnitus: A Large VBM-EEG Correlational Study
Vanneste, Sven (UT Dallas)
Van de Heyning, Paul (UT Dallas)
De Ridder, Dirk
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A surprising fact in voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies performed in tinnitus is that not one single region is replicated in studies of different centers. The question then rises whether this is related to the low sample size of these studies, the selection of non-representative patient subgroups, or the absence of stratification according to clinical characteristics. Another possibility is that VBM is not a good tool to study functional pathologies such as tinnitus, in contrast to pathologies like Alzheimer's disease where it is known the pathology is related to cell loss. In a large sample of 154 tinnitus patients VBM and QEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalography) was performed and evaluated by a regression analysis. Correlation analyses are performed between VBM and QEEG data. Uncorrected data demonstrated structural differences in grey matter in hippocampal and cerebellar areas related to tinnitus related distress and tinnitus duration. After control for multiple comparisons, only cerebellar VBM changes remain significantly altered. Electrophysiological differences are related to distress, tinnitus intensity, and tinnitus duration in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, hippocampus, and parahippocampus, which confirms previous results. The absence of QEEG-VBM correlations suggest functional changes are not reflected by co-occurring structural changes in tinnitus, and the absence of VBM changes (except for the cerebellum) that survive correct statistical analysis in a large study population suggests that VBM might not be very sensitive for studying tinnitus.