jueves, 4 de febrero de 2010

Testing the effect of caffeine on tinnitus symptoms

A new research grant has been awarded by Deafness Research UK to study the effect of caffeine on tinnitus symptoms.

The work will be carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Bristol led by Dr Lindsay St Claire, who is a Lecturer at the Centre for Hearing and Balance studies.

For many years, there has been a commonly held belief that caffeine is a major aggravator of tinnitus symptoms, but there is very little evidence to support this. This new study aims to carry out a detailed analysis of the effects of caffeine withdrawal, abstinence and the recurrence of tinnitus symptoms. It should provide the first experimental evidence to support or challenge this theory.

This research is especially important and timely because about 85% of adults consume caffeine daily and countless millions of these are affected by tinnitus. In the UK, it is estimated that for over half a million people, tinnitus has an effect on their quality of life. Professionals advocate caffeine withdrawal as a tinnitus therapy, even though there is a lack of any relevant evidence and in fact, acute symptoms of caffeine withdrawal might even make tinnitus worse.

The study will recruit caffeine consumers who suffer from tinnitus and who are willing to give up caffeine-containing products during the trial. They will be assigned randomly to different experimental conditions. The conditions are designed so that the participants will receive caffeine on some days, but not on others, but will not know which days are which. Participants will be required to complete a tinnitus questionnaire three times during the study, and to keep a very brief record of their tinnitus symptoms each day. The final analyses will reveal whether caffeine withdrawal and abstinence reduce tinnitus, and whether caffeine reintroduction reverses this effect.

Dr St Claire, the lead researcher on this project, said that "we are delighted to have the opportunity to carry out a study that has the potential to be of help to so many people. We are particularly keen that people with tinnitus should only go through the trouble of withdrawing from caffeine, if it can be shown that this is of real benefit to them".

Fuente: Deafness Research UK 2010

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