Better Understanding the Heterogeneity of Tinnitus to Improve and Develop New Treatments (TINNET)

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an environmental acoustic stimulus. In Europe over 70 million people experience tinnitus and for 7 million it creates a debilitating condition. There are no established treatment approaches available for curing tinnitus. Better treatment is urgently needed. 

Brain research has created a paradigm shift by demonstrating that tinnitus is the consequence of altered neural activity in specific brain networks rather than an ear problem. Based on the understanding of tinnitus as brain disorder, first promising therapeutic approaches have already been developed by individual groups participating in this Action

However further development is hampered by the heterogeneity of tinnitus and limited knowledge about the neuronal underpinnings of the different tinnitus subtypes. 

This Action will foster the establishment of a pan-european multidisciplinary network with the major goal to facilitate (1) the identification of meaningful criteria for tinnitus subtyping, (2) the neurobiological underpinnings of the different tinnitus subtypes and (3) their relevance for response to treatment.  This knowledge is essential for developing of new treatment approaches, their clinical investigation and the speed of translation into marketable products. 

This COST Action intends a stepwise approach which involves identification of (1) meaningful clinical and demographic characteristics for tinnitus subtyping, (2) tinnitus related changes of brain activity in the different forms of tinnitus, (3) intermediate genetic phenotypes for the identification of genetic factors in the pathogenesis of tinnitus and (4) predictors for response to various treatments. This approach requires a coordinated effort from basic scientists, technicians and clinicians of different disciplines working together in ongoing close collaboration.

COST Actions are governed by a Management Committee (MC). Each COST country can nominate up to 2 representatives on this committee, and up to 2 substitutes. If when looking at the Management Committee of BM1306, you will find out that the country of the institution you are affiliated with is not yet or not fully represented in the MC, please introduce yourself to the Chair/Vice Chair of the Action and express your interest to participate.

You will also need to do one of the following:

  • If your country is not represented at all in the MC, you need to contact the COST National Coordinator (CNC) for your country and inquire about joining the MC of the Action. After 13/11/2014, the participation of your country will also need to be approved by our MC before you can officially participate.
  • If your country is already part of the Action, but there are still available slots for MC Members or MC Substitutes, you need to contact your CNC and inquire about the national procedure to be nominated as MC Member/Substitute.

MC membership enables you to take part in the policy decisions (scientific and other) made regarding the Action as well as to be reimbursed by the Action when participating to its activities (a Substitute may participate and be reimbursed only in case one of the Members is unable to attend).

Even if your country is already fully represented on the MC, you can still join the Action as a participant to share your expertise and interest in tinnitus, and benefit from the research advances and expertise of the members of our network. You could join a Working Group and interact with your colleagues, participate in the scientific meetings, workshops and Short-Term Scientific Missions of the Action. All researchers interested in tinnitus research are welcome to join BM1306; please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fill in the on-line form.

 The proposed pan-european coordinated effort will include the following objectives:

  1. Clinical and audiological assessment of tinnitus patients according to common standards 
  2. Data management in a central database and identification of subtype candidates 
  3. Developing standards for neuroimaging studies and probing the neurobiological entity of the defined subtypes by large-scale analyses of neuroimaging data 
  4. Identifying the involvement of genetic factors in the pathogenesis of the different subtypes of tinnitus 
  5. Development of standards for outcome measurements in clinical trials and central data collection 

How networking within the Action will yield the objectives?

The objectives will be achieved under the umbrella of this COST Action by joining experts working in complementing disciplines in academics and industry with their main interest on tinnitus: audiologists, otologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists, clinical-trialand neuroimaging-specialists and geneticists. The COST Action will provide an excellent platform for unifying and harmonizing assessment routines and methodological standards, which is a prerequisite to identify meaningful characteristics for tinnitus subtyping and the pathophysiological factors involved in the different forms of tinnitus. With this COST Action, Europe-wide collaboration will be facilitated with a significant impact on tinnitus research world-wide by networking of renowned scientific experts from various disciplines and many COST countries. The Action will accelerate the successful coordination of local research activities into an integrated project by regular meetings and training workshops.

Many of the applicants have already successfully collaborated in the past within the Tinnitus Research Initiative database workgroup (http://database.tinnitusresearch.org) initiated by the Tinnitus Research Initiative (www.tinnitusresearch.org). Within this project a first step towards standardisation of patient assessment and outcome measurement has been made (30). Moreover a tinnitus database has been established (31)and standards for clinical trials have been proposed (32). To date the database contains data from more than 2900 tinnitus patients. The expertise gained by this group is indeed very valuable in terms of clinical characterisation, phenotype definition, establishment of neuroimaging techniques and outcome standardisation, which are major objectives of this COST Action. Furthermore the activities of this COST Action can be based on an established and working infrastructure. Even if this infrastructure is planned to be further developed within this Action, patient recruitment can be immediately started in parallel, which will tremendously accelerate the progress within the Action.

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) and training workshops will be organised to train early stage scientists and clinical researchers in neuroimaging as well as in specific skills in tinnitus assessment. Outreach activities, establishment and realisation of standards, dissemination of knowledge, and transfer of know-how are an essential part of this COST Action and are going to be achieved by training workshops, scientific meetings, and conferences. The internet will be used for information transfer and dissemination by the creation of an interactive website which will serve as platform for information and discussion for clinicians, researchers and patients.

Martin Meyer, University of Zurich, Zurich (Switzerland), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Dissemination Manager will be responsible for the organization of the international scientific conferences and the development of a program module for a future EU Framework Call.

Dissemination is responsible for the communication on the COST Action particularly its findings and its recommendations, both to the internal audience, the scientific community, the patients and their relatives and the potential medical users of the outcomes. In more detail the target audience includes other researchers working in the tinnitus field or in related fields, other research frameworks focussing on the auditory system, tinnitus or adjacent disorders, research institutes, Standard Bodies, patients and patient organisations, health care providers and the pharma-, bio- and health-tech-industries.

Moreover relevant results will be communicated to policy makers on the regional, national and European level and to the general public.

TF Patients' Organisations and Charities
Isabel DIGES (Spain)

TF Companies
David BAGULEY (United Kingdom)

TF Grant Proposals
Dimitrios KIKIDIS (Greece)

TF Animal Research

Genetics
Christopher Cederroth (Sweden)

Neuroimaging
Arnaud Norena (France)

MC Meeting in Brussels, 19 January 2015

According to the COST Action Management, the coordination, implementation, and management of an Action as well as supervising the appropriate allocation and use of the funds with a view to achieving the Action's scientific and technological objectives are entrusted to the Action Management Committee (MC). Action MC Members represent the COST Member Country or the Cooperating State having been nominated by the COST National Coordinator, regardless of their nationality. The MC is composed of up to two representatives from each Member Country or Cooperating State participating in the Action. The MC may include up to two representatives from International Partner Country, Near Neighbour Country or Specific Organisation participating in the Action. In the latter case, researchers are MC Observers with no voting rights and must come from different institutions. The Action MC, supported by the advice of the DC rapporteur and the COST Office, has the responsibility to:

  • Define and manage the Action Strategy;
  • Define the Action Structure, including: Working Group structure and membership, election of the Action Chair, Vice-Chair, Grant Holder and other COST Action Positions needed to achieve Action Objectives;
  • Establish specific provisions linked to the management, sharing or exploitation of Intellectual Property that may rise from an Action (...). Such provisions must comply with national or international legislation and the need for protecting the participants’ legitimate interests;
  • Perform the reporting duties for the monitoring and assessment of an Action, without prejudice of the monitoring responsibilities of the DC and COST Office.

In fulfilling its responsibilities the Action MC shall take into account the advice provided by the DC Rapporteur responsible for the Action and by the COST Office.

COST Management Committee Chairs

Winfried Schlee 120

Dr. Winfried Schlee, MC Chair

Tobias Kleinjung 120

Prof. Tobias Kleinjung, MC Vice Chair

COST Participants

Country MC Member MC Substitute
     
Austria Ms Daniela Krainer Mr. Stefan Reich
     
Belgium Prof. Sven Vanneste Prof. Paul Van De Heyning
  Dr. Audrey Maudoux Dr. Michael Boedts
     
Bulgaria Prof. Katya Simeonova  
     
Cyprus Dr. Eleftherios Papathanasiou  
     
Czech Republic Prof. Josef Syka Dr. Oliver Profant
     
Denmark Mr Ole Dyrlund Ms Susanne Steen Nemholt
  Prof. Ture Andersen  
     
Finland Mr Petteri Hyvarinen  
  Dr. Antti Aarnisalo  
     
France Dr. Arnaud Norena Dr. Marco Congedo
  Mr Alain Londero Prof. Hung Thai-Van
     
fYR Macedonia Prof. Kneginja Richter  
     
Germany Dr. Berthold Langguth Dr. Elisabeth Wallhaeusser-Franke
  Prof. Birgit Mazurek Prof. Orlando Guntinas-Lichius
     
Greece Dr. Dimitrios Kikidis Prof. Thomas Nikolopoulos
  Prof. Athanasios Bibas Prof. Stavros Korres
    Dr. Giorgos Sakkas
    Dr. Eleftherios Lavdas
    Dr. Dimitrios Louloudis
     
Iceland Dr. Einar Jon Einarsson   
     
Ireland Dr. Sean Mcgrath  
  Dr. Colin Flanagan  
     
Israel Dr. Eitan Mijiritsky  
  Dr. Yahav Oron  
     
Italy Prof. Nathan Weisz Dr. Carmela Stillitano
  Dr. Alessandra Fioretti Dr. Letizia Leocani
     
Lithuania Dr. Ingrida Uloziene Prof. Virgilijus Uloza
     
Malta Dr. Alec Lapira  
     
Netherlands Prof. Pim Van Dijk  
  Dr. Rilana Cima  
     
Norway Dr. Jan Bulla   
     
Poland Ms Malgorzata Wrzosek Dr. Anna Pajor
  Dr. Anna Fabijanska   
     
Portugal Dr. Haúla Haider Mr. Diogo Ribeiro
  Prof. Helena Caria  
     
Romania Dr. Ioana Dana Alexa  Dr. Dragos Peptanariu 
  Mr Vasile Cepoi   
     
Serbia Dr. Sonja Pavlovic Dr. Vesna Mandusic
    Prof. Dragoslava Djeric
    Prof. Nenad Arsovic
     
Slovakia Dr. Norbert Kopco Dr. Eleni Vlahou
     
Slovenia Dr. Saba Battelino  
     
Spain Jose Antonio Lopez-Escamez Dr. Manuel Castellano-Munoz
  Ms Isabel Diges Prof. Manuel Sanchez Malmierca
     
Sweden Dr. Christopher Cederroth Prof. Barbara Canlon 
  Prof. Esma Idrizbegovich  
     
Switzerland Dr. Tobias Kleinjung Dr. Steffi Weidt
  Prof. Martin Meyer  
     
Turkey Dr. Ozlem Sengoz Sirin Nilgün Sengoz
     
United Kingdom Dr. David Baguley Prof. Roland Schaette
  Prof. Deborah Hall  
     

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an environmental acoustic stimulus. In Europe over 70 million people experience tinnitus and for 7 million it creates a debilitating condition. There are no established treatment approaches available for curing tinnitus. Better treatment is urgently needed. Brain research has created a paradigm shift by demonstrating that tinnitus is the consequence of altered neural activity in specific brain networks rather than an ear problem. Based on the understanding of tinnitus as brain disorder, first promising therapeutic approaches have already been developed by individual groups participating in this Action. However further development is hampered by the heterogeneity of tinnitus and limited knowledge about the neuronal underpinnings of the different tinnitus subtypes. 

This Action will foster the establishment of a pan-european multidisciplinary network with the major goal to facilitate

  1. the identification of meaningful criteria for tinnitus subtyping,
  2. the neurobiological underpinnings of the different tinnitus subtypes and
  3. their relevance for response to treatment.

This knowledge is essential for developing of new treatment approaches, their clinical investigation and the speed of translation into marketable products. 

This COST Action intends a stepwise approach which involves identification of:

  1. meaningful clinical and demographic characteristics for tinnitus subtyping,
  2. tinnitus related changes of brain activity in the different forms of tinnitus,
  3. intermediate genetic phenotypes for the identification of genetic factors in the pathogenesis of tinnitus and
  4. predictors for response to various treatments.

This approach requires a coordinated effort from basic scientists, technicians and clinicians of different disciplines working together in ongoing close collaboration.

Domain Committee Rapporteur
Prof. Dr. Sacit Karamürsel
Istanbul University
Istanbul Faculty of Medicine
Head of Department of Physiology
Temel Tip Bilimleri Binasi
Çapa 34093 /İstanbul
Tel & Fax: 0 212 414 22 51 ve 53
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Science Officer
Dr. Federica Ortelli
Senior Science Officer Life Sciences
Science Officer BMBS
COST Office
149 Avenue Louise
1050 Brussels
Belgium
Tel. +3225333817
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Administrative Officer
Ms Jeannette Nchung
COST Office
149 Avenue Louise
1050 Brussels
Belgium
Tel. +32 2 533 38 50
Fax +32 2 533 38 90
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Subcategories

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About TINNET
TINNET is a European research network funded from April 11, 2014 to April 10, 2018 by the COST program under the Action number BM1306.

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