A segment on the ABC Evening News on January 24 caught my attention. Medical correspondent Dr. Richard Besser reported on the success of treating Essential Tremor (ET) with MRI guided focused ultrasound.
The clip showed the dramatic results for a woman with ET. Before the treatment, shaking prevented her from easily touching the tip of her index finger to Besser’s. After the non-invasive, ten-minute procedure – no problem.
The process uses MRI imaging to accurately pinpoint the affected area responsible for the ET in the thalamus region of the brain. Then, focused ultrasound targets that tissue, which can be as small as one millimeter in diameter.
Dr. Jeffrey Elias, Director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at University of Virginia – the same man featured in the ABCNews story — explains the procedure:
- be the ultimate form of noninvasive surgery
- destroy tumors without making any incisions and without harm to other organs
- replace the need for most radiation treatments
- transform pharmacological therapy by delivering drugs precisely where needed without harm to the rest of the body
- dissolve blood clots and restore flow through blocked vessels