During the hearing conference the other day, in between squealing hearing aids and Wanda’s instructions on how to adjust her volume, Dr. Lim talked not just of Robocop solutions to tinnitus. He also talked about Multimodal Synchronization Therapy (mSync). It’s not a boyband.
Obviously Robocop-type brain therapies are invasive. Maximally invasive, because they’re leaving bits and pieces in your brain that will talk with other bits and pieces outside of your skull. The reason they are looking at doing this is so they can effectively target very, very specific parts of the brain – targeted therapy for targeted problems. mSync is a method that theoretically will target and modulate those very specific parts of the brain without being invasive – no bits inserted and none left behind.
Very simplistically, mSync stimulates multiple pathways, essentially all the different senses – hearing, taste, smell, touch, sight, as well as motor, cognitive, and limbic pathways (which is the system in your brain that helps to regulate mood and instincts) – in a very specific way to stimulate one specific part of the brain (like all roads leading to Paris) which will relieve tinnitus. Right now, the guinea pig (literally – they’re up to guinea pig experimentation) has undergone a combination of auditory and somatosensory pathways (hearing and touch), which seems to have worked out pretty well for the guinea pig.
And what does this have to do with fibromyalgia? First of all, the limbic system is one of the systems that are a bit out of whack for fibro patients. Secondly, if they can come up with a non-invasive way to treat something like tinnitus, which is a condition that results from the brain forgetting how to communicate with itself, it seems like that would be a good indication that similar treatment could work for fibromyalgia, which is very much a similar condition – our brains overcommunicate, kind of like the boy who cried wolf. “Pain!” he shouted, and all the neurons fired up the torches. “Oh no, just kidding,” he said, but alas it was too late.
During the lecture, Dr. Lim mentioned treatment for pain several times, but it is not at the center of their research at this time. Just want to say – keep going, Dr. Lim – I’ll be watching.