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Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

The Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI) database: A new approach for delineation of tinnitus subtypes and generation of predictors for treatment outcome

Michael Landgrebe1*, Florian Zeman2, Michael Koller2, Yvonne Eberl2, Markus Mohr3, Jean Reiter1, Susanne Staudinger1, Goeran Hajak1 and Berthold Langguth1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstraße 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany

2 Center for Clinical Studies, University Hospital Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany

3 ManaThea GmbH, Josef-Engert-Straße 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2010, 10:42  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-42

Published: 3 August 2010

Abstract

Tinnitus, the phantom perception of sound, is a frequent disorder that causes significant morbidity and treatment is elusive. A large variety of different treatment options have been proposed and from most of them some patients benefit. However, a particular treatment that helps one patient may fail for others. This suggests that there are different forms of tinnitus which differ in their pathophysiology and their response to specific treatments. Therefore, it is a major challenge for tinnitus treatment to identify the most promising therapy for a specific patient.

However, most published clinical treatment studies have enrolled only relatively small patient samples, making it difficult to identify predictors of treatment response for specific approaches. Furthermore, inter-study comparability is limited because of varying methods of tinnitus assessment and different outcome parameters. Performing clinical trials according to standardized methodology and pooling the data in a database should facilitate both clinical subtypisation of different forms of tinnitus, and identification of promising treatments for different types of tinnitus. This would be an important step towards the goal of individualized treatment of tinnitus.

For these reasons, an international database of tinnitus patients, who undergo specific treatments, and are assessed during the course of this treatment with standardized instruments (e.g., psychoacoustic measures, questionnaires) has been established. The primary objectives of this database are (1) collecting a standardized set of data on patient characteristics, treatments, and outcomes from tinnitus patients consulting specialized tinnitus clinics all over the world (at present 13 centers in 8 countries), (2) delineating different subtypes of tinnitus based on data that has been systematically collected and (3) identifying predictors for individual treatment response based on the clinical profile. Starting in 2008, the database currently contains data from more than 400 patients. It is expected that more centers will join the project and that the patient numbers will rapidly grow, so that this international database will further facilitate future research and contribute to the development of evidence based on individualized treatment.