UVA spearheading new treatment for Essential Tremor

Patient after receiving focus ultrasound treatment (Photo: UVA)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WSET) - 10 million people suffer from Essential Tremor in the U-S ; a progressive neurological condition that causes involuntary rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, tongue, voice, and less often the legs or trunk.

But now UVA Medical Center is giving patients new hope.

Focus ultrasound is a relatively new technology just approved by the FDA where doctors can focus ultrasound beams deep inside the brain.

This groundbreaking treatment offers a new, noninvasive option for patients with essential tremor, the most common movement disorder.

The scalpel-free approach to brain surgery has been pioneered at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Dr. Jeffrey Elias said they chose to do the clinical trial on tremors because it is such a widespread issue.

They focus 1000 beams of ultrasound to a very small part of the brain and doctors gradually increase the treatment according to the response.

"These cases are pretty incredible and incredible satisfying because we get to watch the treatment and there is a dramatic affect in a relatively short period of time," Elias explained. "To see someone's tremors stop with-in minutes of treatment is really an incredible event."

Although this disease is not fatal, it can cause severe disability, so this dramatic change in patients can be life changing.

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