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U. of I. graduate student wins $10,000 grant to conduct tinnitus research

5/29/2013 | Jeff Unger, News Bureau | 217-333-1085;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Jake Carpenter-Thompson, of Lake City, Mich., an M.D./Ph.D. student in neuroscience at the University of Illinois, is one of two graduate students nationwide awarded a research grant from the American Tinnitus Association.

He also is the first U. of I. recipient of the award. The $10,000 grant will support Carpenter-Thompson’s dissertation project, “The Effect of Exercise on Tinnitus Severity.”

Carpenter-Thompson’s project aims to identify relationships between tinnitus severity and physical activity. He also hopes to characterize the differences between tinnitus subjects with varying physical fitness and tinnitus severity levels using both behavior and brain-imaging tools.

Carpenter-Thompson works in the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, led by Fatima Husain. The lab conducts research on audition and speech perception as well as the disorders associated with them.  The lab brings together computational modeling, brain imaging and behavioral studies to explore neuronal activity and propose novel treatment methods for particular disorders.

“Carpenter-Thompson’s grant was ranked first out of 84 grants submitted to ATA this year, only two of which were student-led grants,” said Husain, who is a professor of speech and hearing science. “This is a new area of research for our lab and, in general, very little has been done about using exercise as an intervention for patients with tinnitus.”

 “I am very grateful and privileged to receive funding from the American Tinnitus Association,” Carpenter-Thompson said. “I hope that my research will lead to new therapies that will improve the quality of life for the millions of people who suffer with tinnitus.”

Tinnitus – ringing in the ears – affects about 250 million people worldwide and, when severe, can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life. Tinnitus is common in people with head injuries or circulatory disorders, and it often affects soldiers, heavy equipment operators and others routinely exposed to loud noises. It becomes increasingly common as people age, with one out of three people 65 and older suffering from it.

Founded in 1971, the American Tinnitus Association is the largest nonprofit organization in the United States working to cure tinnitus, and it has been providing grants to researchers since 1980.
For more information, visit the association’s website.

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