To the Editor.—I was pleased to read that Dr Dobie has explored electrical tinnitus suppression, as reported in the July 1986 issue of the Archives,1 but his success rate was extremely poor and could be attributed to a placebo effect. I would like to offer a word of caution and advice to researchers in the field of electrical treatment, not just for tinnitus, but for a variety of disorders.2,3
Electrical stimulation is a method of treatment that at this point is experimental and based on empirical results. The mechanism of action is unknown. Waveform, frequency, and intensity, as well as the location of stimulation, are important in the effects that can be produced on the cell membrane and within cells or tissues. There is presently interest in this subject in the basic sciences, such as electrical engineering, physics, and electrochemistry. The fact that measurable biological changes can
BAUER W. Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1986;112(12):1301–1302. doi:10.1001/archotol.1986.03780120065017
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