Medical Breakthroughs: Using MRI scans to detect tremors

Medical Breakthroughs: Using MRI scans to detect tremors
2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago Monday, May 27 2024 May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024 12:59 PM May 27, 2024 in News

More than 10 million people have essential tremors. It can start small, but it can end up making it difficult to eat, speak, walk and talk.

Janice Pedersen has a lot to live for, 11 kids and 52 grandkids to be exact, but even before grandkids, Janice noticed her hands starting to shake.

That's when she was treated with an MRI guided high-frequency focused ultrasound.

"Using sound waves that get through the brain and create that, sort of, thermal heating, in the area that we're trying to negate the activity," Neurosurgeon at the Emory School of Medicine, Robert Gross, said.

Gross can now pinpoint the tiniest area in the brain causing the tremors.

"It's guided by an MRI scan," Gross said.

Using the same type of ultrasound that breaks up kidney stones and allows you to see babies in utero, this one uses a thousand ultrasound beams to ablate, or destroy, the lesions in the brain causing the tremors.

"We focus those thousand beams such that, as they're going through, they don't do very much heating at any particular trajectory through the brain, but they all meet at a certain point," Gross said.

The FDA approved procedure is now offered all over the country and is helping people like Janice regain control of their lives.

The treatment is performed in a single session and usually takes two to three hours.

It's currently being used for patients living with essential tremor or Parkinson's-related tremor that's not responding to medication.

Data so far shows the effect of the procedure lasts up to five years or longer.

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