Tinnitus is an aversive auditory percept of unknown origin. We tested the speculation that tinnitus may share neuronal processing mechanisms with aversive auditory percepts of known origin. This study revealed the functional neuroanatomy of the perception of aversive auditory stimuli. The stimuli were presented to 12 healthy volunteers so as to mimic the psychoacoustical features of tinnitus and its affective response in tinnitus sufferers. The regional cerebral blood flow distribution was measured by PET during four auditory processing conditions and one control condition. The aversive auditory stimuli activated primary and secondary auditory areas bilaterally, dorsolateral prefrontal attention areas, and structures in the limbic system which subserve emotional processing. Based on these results and findings from other functional neuro-images of tinnitus, we hypothesize that the perception of tinnitus may involve the functional linkage of these brain areas: secondary auditory cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and limbic system. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
- Positron emission tomography
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