Using Ultrasound to Treat Essential Tremors

Did you know that essential tremors affect more than 15% (or 7.5 million) of the elderly US population? In addition, 60% of those affected find that the only help (albeit temporary) available is drug-based treatments involving beta blockers. But ultimately, these tremors have a profound effect on one’s quality of life as the tremors can make it difficult for sufferers to do such simple tasks as write their names, hold a glass of water, cook or do any number of tasks that most of us take for granted.

Essential tremors are tremors that occur in the hands, though sometimes will affect the head, voice and on occasion, the ability to walk. They are more common after the age of 40 and are quite often due to genetics. They can be triggered by emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine or even temperature extremes. They don’t typically result in other health problems, but they do make accomplishing everyday tasks more difficult.

However, in recent months, there have been studies that use a treatment known as ultrasound thalmotomy or as it is called in some circles, Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS).

Enter ultrasound thalmotomy – recently several different studies have been done using Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound to treat essential tremors. The MRgFUS procedure was approved by the FDA in 2016, and is accomplished by using ultrasound to send pulses to specific regions of the brain to provide deep brain stimulation. The procedure begins with having an MRI to determine exactly where the pulses should be sent, so maximum effectiveness is achieved.

This non-incision procedure is being found effective in temporarily getting rid of the tremors – how long each procedure works has varied by case, but there have been a number of cases where the reversal of tremors has been permanent.

Of course, making the use of ultrasound thalmotomy more appealing is that not only is it working, but it is an outpatient procedure that costs less than many other approaches to treating essential tremors. Definitely a win for all involved!

While MRgFUS has been used successfully with a number of people, it is still not widespread in use. That said, researchers are seeing it as viable option in treating essential tremors not just a as result of age, but also to treat other people who have tremors due to battling Parkinson’s Disease or Cerebral Palsy. But, in seeing the success thus far, research is continuing with the goal of eradicating essential tremors once and for all.

As you might guess, ultrasound is rapidly becoming one of the most valuable tools in the modern medical office. If you have questions about getting an ultrasound system in your office on permanent, or even temporary basis, give us a call. We have many options and plans available and would love to help you make your healthcare location the best in your area. Contact us today!

 

***While National Ultrasound doesn’t carry this particular type of ultrasound system, we thought our readers would find this latest advancement of interest.