Breakthrough in Search for Tinnitus Cure

After 20 years searching for a cure for tinnitus, researchers at the University of Auckland are excited by ‘encouraging results’ from a clinical trial of a mobile-phone-based therapy.

The study randomised 61 patients to one of two treatments, the prototype of the new ‘digital polytherapeutic’ or a popular self-help app producing white noise.

On average, the group with the polytherapeutic (31 people) showed clinically significant improvements at 12 weeks, while the other group (30 people) did not. The results have just been published in Frontiers in Neurology.

“This is more significant than some of our earlier work and is likely to have a direct impact on future treatment of tinnitus,” Associate Professor in Audiology Grant Searchfield says.

Key to the new treatment is an initial assessment by an audiologist who develops the personalised treatment plan, combining a range of digital tools, based on the individual’s experience of tinnitus.

“Earlier trials have found white noise, goal-based counselling, goal-oriented games and other technology-based therapies are effective for some people some of the time,” says Dr Searchfield.

“This is quicker and more effective, taking 12 weeks rather than 12 months for more individuals to gain some control.”

There is no pill that can cure tinnitus.

“What this therapy does is essentially rewire the brain in a way that de-emphasises the sound of the tinnitus to a background noise that has no meaning or relevance to the listener,” Dr Searchfield says.

Audiology research fellow Dr Phil Sanders says the results are exciting and he found running the trial personally rewarding.

“Sixty-five percent of participants reported an improvement. For some people, it was life-changing – where tinnitus was taking over their lives and attention.”

Some people didn’t notice an improvement and their feedback will inform further personalisation, Dr Sanders says.

Tinnitus is a phantom noise and its causes are complex. It has so far defied successful treatment.

While most people experience tinnitus, or ringing in the ears at least on occasions, around five percent experience it to a distressing degree. Impacts can include trouble sleeping, difficulty carrying out daily tasks and depression.

Dr Searchfield says seeing his patients’ distress and having no effective treatment to offer inspired his research. “I wanted to make a difference.”

The next step will be to refine the prototype and proceed to larger local and international trials with a view to FDA approval.

The researchers hope the app will be clinically available in around six months.

Source: University of Auckland





Seasonal French Lunch Set of Hakone Hotel in Japan

The main dish is Fish and Seafood Poêlé with 2-color Sauce.

The price is 4,000 yen (tax and service charge included).

Il Miraggio (イル・ミラジィオ)





Everyday Activities That Can Cut Your Odds for Dementia

Reading, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends might help lower your risk of dementia, a new study suggests.

“Previous studies have shown that leisure activities were associated with various health benefits, such as a lower cancer risk, a reduction of atrial fibrillation, and a person’s perception of their own well-being,” said study author Lin Lu, of Peking University Sixth Hospital in Beijing, China.

“However, there is conflicting evidence of the role of leisure activities in the prevention of dementia. Our research found that leisure activities like making crafts, playing sports or volunteering were linked to a reduced risk of dementia,” Lu added.

For the new study, Lu and his team reviewed 38 studies that included more than 2 million people who did not have dementia. Of those, 74,700 developed dementia during the three-year follow-up.

After taking into account factors such as age, sex and education, the investigators found that people who engaged in leisure activities had a 17% lower risk of dementia than those who didn’t.

The study looked at mental, physical and social activities.

Mental activities included reading, writing for pleasure, watching television, listening to the radio, playing games or musical instruments, using a computer and making crafts. Folks who did these activities had a 23% lower risk of dementia.

Physical activities — including walking, running, swimming, bicycling, using exercise machines, playing sports, yoga and dancing — were linked to a 17% lower dementia risk, the researchers found.

Engaging in social activities — such as staying in touch with others, taking classes, joining clubs, volunteering, spending time with relatives or friends, or attending church — was associated with a 7% lower risk.

This study can’t prove that these activities lower the risk for dementia, only that there may be a connection, the team noted.

“This meta-analysis suggests that being active has benefits, and there are plenty of activities that are easy to incorporate into daily life that may be beneficial to the brain,” Lu said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. “Our research found that leisure activities may reduce the risk of dementia. Future studies should include larger sample sizes and longer follow-up time to reveal more links between leisure activities and dementia.”

The report was published online in the journal Neurology.

Source: HealthDay





Monkfish Kebabs


1-1/2 1b skinless boneless monkfish steaks


4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
juice 2 lemons
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 fresh red chili, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 oz fresh coriander
1/2 oz fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Make the chermoula. In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic with the salt. Place in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice to the food processor with the cumin, paprika, red chili, coriander and parsley. Process briefly then gradually add the olive oil and reduce to a coarse puree. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Cut the fish into 1-inch cubes and add to the chermoula mixture. Mix well to coat, cover and leave in a cool place for 1 hour.
  3. Thread the fish onto skewers and place on a rack over a grill pan. Spoon the marinade over the fish. Grill under a preheated grill, close to the heat, for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the fish is lightly browned and flakes easily when tested with a knife.
  4. Serve with salad and warm pitta bread.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Book of North African Cooking

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