ATA Electronic Newsletter
June 2011 – Volume 1, Issue 2
An Interview with Gita Bhattacharya and Her Story of Triumph Over Tinnitus
note: You may remember ATA asking for your participation in an MP3
player usage survey a few months back. Miss Bhattacharya was the
investigator and mastermind behind that survey and in this interview,
she talks about how she became interested in tinnitus and shares the
results of her survey. Because she provided so much wonderful
information, we were only able to include portions of her answers and
certain questions from the interview in the newsletter. However, you
can read the full interview in the Student Zone section on ATA.org by
Q: State your name, age, location and anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself.
A: My name is Gita Bhattacharya and I am a 17-year old junior at a high
school in southern California. I enjoy writing, listening to Japanese,
playing piano, guitar, and singing. I love all my classes at school;
everything I learn is just so interesting. I am also a candidate for an
International Baccalaureate (IB), which gave me the opportunity to
study philosophy. If I had to pick, I would have to say that biology is
my favorite subject. Following my passion in biology, especially
genetics, I created a club at my school called, “BLAST! Into
Bioinformatics!”. I would like to continue doing research in the
medical or public health field when I graduate from high school and
into the future.
Q: Why are you interested in tinnitus?
A: It was 2 a.m. on June 28, 2009. Everyone in my house was asleep,
except for me. Tossing, turning, putting my hands over my ears, trying
to pretend the sound I heard was not there. This line of defense had
been of no use to me for several nights in a row. Exasperated and
exhausted, I searched the internet for the phrase “ringing in the
ears,” and learned that I had something called
“tinnitus.” I pronounced it for the first time, opting for
its more melodious sounding choice in pronunciation—tin-eye-tus.
Soon, I was to pronounce yet another word - “hyperacusis,”
which clarified why on July 4, the fireworks had hurt my ears.
interest in tinnitus prompted you to use the condition as part of a
recent scientific competition – can you tell us a little more
about the competition?
A: The competition I submitted my research to is called the Young
Epidemiology Scholars (YES) competition. My biology teacher, Mrs. Ngo,
knew about my tinnitus and that I was trying to understand possible
causes of tinnitus. She suggested that I submit my research to the YES
competition. After conducting surveys of 18 to 25 year-olds in my
community, analyzing, and discussing the results, I submitted a 30-page
paper to the YES competition on February 1, 2011. Overall, the project
took me 500 hours to complete.
Q: What were the results of the competition?
A: In mid-March 2011, I was notified that my paper had been accepted as
one of the top 60 papers in the nation. I was invited to Washington
D.C. from April 15-18, 2011 to present my paper to a panel of judges.
The presentations were divided into six regions with 10 presenters in
each region. After the regional presentation, two people from each
region would be chosen to be the top 12 in the nation. At a memorable
dinner at the Keck Center of the National Academy of the
Sciences— a dinner I will never forget — I was selected to
compete in the national competition. I presented my paper a second time
to compete with finalists and, the next morning at the national awards
ceremony, I was awarded third place and a $20,000 scholarship to the college of my choice.
Visit ATA’s Student Zone to read the rest of the article and for the results of Gita’s survey.
Just 21 Days Until the Jack Vernon Walk to Silence Tinnitus!
The Jack Vernon Walk to Silence Tinnitus is happening now!
just three weeks, on June 25, ATA’s annual Jack
Vernon Walk to Silence Tinnitus
will be held in Portland, Oregon. The Walk includes both a
walk and an online walk that allows people from across the
around the world to participate, even if they can't be in
Portland. ATA is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year
Jack Vernon Walk to Silence Tinnitus is our premier event to
funds for ATA’s research program.
All money raised from the Walk will go to fund necessary tinnitus research.
This year is especially poignant, because, as many of you know, Jack
passed away in November 2010 and his wife, Mary B. Meikle, Ph.D., also
a renowned tinnitus researcher, passed away in February 2011. The Walk
will be a celebration of their lifelong work and commitment to tinnitus
patients and pursuing a cure for tinnitus.
Here’s how you can participate!
1) IN PERSON IN PORTLAND, Oregon if you live in or near Portland or want to visit this beautiful city in June.
2) AS AN ONLINE SUPPORTER, in one of two ways:
*Form or join an existing team to support the online walk. This will get the most people involved!
*You can also simply donate to the event, which is the same as joining “Team ATA”. You’ll still be supporting ATA’s research efforts.
Remember, if the Walk raises at least $50,000 it will generate at least
one research grant! Please help us reach that goal and fund our search
for a cure. Every gift helps, be it big or small, so please spread the
Research In Motion – New ATA-Funded Research
the funds raised from the 2010 Jack Vernon Walk to Silence Tinnitus, in
addition to other restricted gifts throughout the year, ATA was able to
fund five deserving tinnitus investigators! At the April ATA Board of
Directors meeting, the following researchers were awarded grants for
Name: Berthold Langguth, M.D., University of Regensburg, Bezirksklinikum
Research Project: rTMS for the Treatment of Tinnitus: Optimization by Stimulation of the Cortical Tinnitus Network
Roadmap to a Cure Paths: A,B,C,D
Funded: 1 Year, $45,000
Name: Susan Shore, Ph.D., The Regents of the University of Michigan
Somatosensory Influence on Physiological and Behavioral Correlates of
Tinnitus - Towards an Effective Technique for Alleviating Tinnitus
Roadmap to a Cure Paths: A,B,C
Funded: 1 Year, $45,000
Name: Lucien Thompson, Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas
Research Project: Developing and Treating Tinnitus by Modulating Neuroplasticity in Hippocampus and Amygdala
Roadmap to a Cure Paths: A,B,C
Funded: 1 Year, $45,000
Name: Pim Van Dijk, Ph.D., University Medical Center Groningen
Research Project: Response of the Central Auditory System in Tinnitus and Hearing Loss, an fMRI study
Roadmap to a Cure Path: A
Funded: Year 3, $45,000; Grant renewal; 3rd year of 3-year project; (Year 1: $88,006; Year 2: $50,000; Total: $183,006)
Name: Na Zhu, Ph.D. student; Wayne State University
Research Project: Development of an Innovative, 3D Computer Aided Diagnostic System for Tinnitus
Roadmap to a Cure Path: A
Funded: Student grant, 1 year, $10,000
For details of the projects, visit ATA.org/research/ata-funded. Also, look for an overview in the Summer 2011 print version of Tinnitus Today.
|Do You Have a Facebook Page? Help ATA Win the Vivint Challenge!
The deadline for Phase I voting is June 11, 2011! And you can vote DAILY for ATA in the Vivint Gives Back Contest
This year, Vivint is giving away $250,000 to the charity with the most
votes overall and $100,000 to the winner of each region. Also, during
Phase II, there will be a special opportunity for the final list of
charities to obtain matching donations from Vivint, up to $2,500 each.
Phase I of the contest is going on now through June 11th - the top 20
most endorsed charities from each region will move on to Phase II.
Phase II will begin on June 14th and end on August 27th. The winners
will be announced shortly after voting ends.
ATA is competing this year for the first time and asking for your support.
We can't emphasize strongly enough how essential DAILY voting is; last
year's winner won their region by only 135 votes. Here are the
instructions for voting:
Steps for endorsing ATA:
1. Log into your Facebook account.
2. Go to: http://www.vivint.com/givesbackproject/charity/372 (Vivint's contest page for ATA)
3. When prompted, click the “Like” button (if you did
not login to Facebook first, you'll also need to click the Facebook
NOTE: If you are not already logged in to Facebook, you will have to type in your login info. If you are
already logged in to Facebook, this will simply allow Vivint to connect
with your Facebook page. You may also have to agree to allow Facebook
to access your information. Just click "allow" at the bottom if it asks
Scroll down and click the “Endorse!” button. (if everything
worked correctly, you should get a page that lets you know endorsed
You’re all set!
Steps for endorsing ATA each day:
1. To keep supporting ATA, all you have to do is bookmark ATA's Vivint page at (http://www.vivint.com/givesbackproject/charity/372), visit it once a day, and click “Endorse!”
THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!
|Sneak Peek – Summer 2011 Print Version of Tinnitus Today
The Summer 2011 issue of Tinnitus Today
is our big research issue. In this special edition, you’ll find
some of the latest tinnitus research findings that are going on
throughout the world, including the most recently funded ATA-research.
In addition to our continued 40th
anniversary coverage, you will read a fantastic interview with
ATA’s first and longest serving Executive Director, Gloria Reich,
Ph.D. (pictured right). Gloria’s
interview will fill you in on
everything you never knew about ATA’s humble beginnings and
evolution of ATA to the respected organization it is today.
|TAW 2011 – Raising Tinnitus Awareness from Coast to Coast!
you to everyone who participated in Tinnitus Awareness Week 2011 held
from May 15-21, 2011. Many people participated in TAW across the U.S.
and some major highlights include:
Mark Church, tinnitus sufferer and long-time ATA supporter, biked across the state of
Missouri! His trip, the first “Tour de Tinnitus,” went
along the full length of the Katy Trail and raised $3,500 for
ATA’s research grant program. You can read a re-cap in
Mark’s own words coming up in the Summer 2011 Tinnitus Today. There’s still time to contribute to Mark’s efforts at bike.ata.org. Thanks Mark!
The Ewing, NJ Tinnitus Support Group
invited a special guest speaker, Dr. Stephen Nagler, to their May
meeting to discuss how he overcame his own tinnitus to help others. The
group reported that over 90 people attended Dr. Nagler’s
presentation and all in attendance were greatly appreciative of his
The San Francisco Tinnitus Support Group also hosted a meeting with special guest speaker, and former Scientific Advisory Committee member Robert Sweetow, Ph.D.
ATA’s own Michael Malusevic and Wes Breazeale
presented a “perfect playlist” on Portland’s radio
station KNRK 94.7 FM. The "Perfect Playlist" is a daily weekday drive
time show where guests are invited to share five songs that often have
a theme. Our theme was, as you might imagine, songs or artists that
reference or have tinnitus. It provided a unique opportunity to talk
about ATA on a much listened to radio program in the Portland Metro
area! If you missed it, you can listen here.
Many thanks to everyone who gave their time and efforts to make this
year’s Tinnitus Awareness Week a great success! Just because
Tinnitus Awareness Week is over, it doesn’t mean you can’t
raise awareness all year long! As 2011 marches on, let’s continue
to “Restore Silence: One Decade at a Time” together.
|Tinnitus Research in the News
Tinnitus Caused by Too Little Inhibition of Brain Auditory Circuits
Tinnitus is the result of under-inhibition of key neural pathways in
the brain's auditory center, according to scientists at the University
of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. A new technique to image auditory circuits
using slices of brain tissue in the lab was used and may point the way
to drug development and effective treatment for the condition. Note:
ATA played a key role in this work by funding lead researcher Thanos Tzounopoulos, Ph.D. in July 2008 for $75,000 for his project "Cellular Mechanisms of Tinnitus". Read more here.
Soldiers Screened for Potential Vulnerability to Tinnitus
Washington University researchers, led by ATA Scientific Advisory Committee member Jay Piccirillo, Ph.D., will use MRI scans to look for preexisting vulnerabilities
in the brain’s cortical neural networks that are associated with
the development of tinnitus in active-duty military personnel. Read
Why Some People Are More Prone to Tinnitus Than Others?
Researchers funded by an NIDCD challenge grant are suggesting a novel theory
to explain why some people are more prone to tinnitus than others are.
They propose that the limbic system - a linked network of brain
structures involved in emotion, behavior, and long-term memory - acts
as a gatekeeper to keep the tinnitus signal from reaching the auditory
cortex, the part of the brain that mediates our conscious perception of
sounds. Read more here.
Clinical Trial to Test Effectiveness of Magnesium on Tinnitus Patients
Magnesium, a mineral found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables, is being studied in a clinical trial
to treat people with chronic tinnitus. Researchers believe the mineral
plays a key role in protecting our hearing system and that supplements
taken daily will reduce tinnitus. Read more here.
|ATA Support Network Update
Since February, six new support groups have started and two new help
network volunteers have joined our listing! Thank you to the
individuals who are lending their time to help other tinnitus
Robin B. Hardin, M.A., LIC-A, FAA – Northeast Georgia Tinnitus Support Group
Karen Pryztula – Orlando Tinnitus Support Group
Valentina Stewart Watson & Dave Atkinson – Maui Tinnitus Support Group
Rob Ballard – San Diego Tinnitus Support Group
Brandon S. Lichtman, Au.D. – Wheeling, WV Tinnitus Support Group
Mel Miller, Ph.D., CCC-A – Boise Tinnitus Support Group (also a help network volunteer)
Brian Whaley – Ft. Worth, Texas help network volunteer.
To view ATA’s full Support Network listing, visit ATA.org/support.
If you are interested in becoming a support group leader or help network volunteer, please contact Katie Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATA strives to continually improve its website and we have new pages worth bookmarking in your web browser!
ATA.org has dozens of informative pages to help you understand tinnitus
and connect with others. Need some help finding some? Visit ATA.org/index
for quick links to the top pages. We think you will be pleasantly
surprised by the vast amount of information available at your
NEW PRODUCTS IN THE ATA STORE
How to Manage Your Tinnitus, A Step-by-Step Workbook
A user manual and key part of the Progressive Tinnitus Management
system developed by ATA Scientific Advisory Committee member James
Henry, Ph.D. for veterans visiting the National Center for
Rehabilitative Auditory Research in Portland, the How to Manage Your
Tinnitus workbook includes a CD with 17 sample masking sounds and an
interactive DVD and workbook to keep track of your forward progress.
“How to Manage Your Tinnitus” is available in the ATA Store
for $94 to ATA members. Visit ATA.org/store/ptm and place your order today for this valuable resource!
Living with Tinnitus and Hyperacusis
This comprehensive book, written by three leading professionals in the
field of audiology, suggests a range of effective ways to improve the
quality of life for those with tinnitus and hyperacusis. Topics include
causes and mechanisms of tinnitus and hyperacusis, associated medical
conditions, effective therapies (including sound therapy), dealing with
your thoughts- tried and true techniques based on cognitive behavioral
therapy- and helpful tips on getting a good night's sleep. Living With
Tinnitus and Hyperacusis looks at strategies for coping and includes a
complete self-help program Available for $18.50 to ATA members.
Visit the ATA Store and listen to the many different sounds available for relaxation at ATA.org/store/cds.
Most of the high quality, stereo CDs are produced by the American
Tinnitus Association and are available for only $2.50 to ATA members!
Hear the soothing and relaxing sounds of six new CDs available now in
the ATA Store: California Coast, Cat Purr, Cave of the Mermaid, Pink
Noise, Spring Rain and Wind.
|The lighter side of tinnitus – if only it were that easy!