New study searches for more precise diagnostic tool

Brain ChangesIt is sometimes difficult, even for a trained neurologist, to tell the difference between Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor when it is in the early stages, as they can share similar symptoms (such as resting tremor). A new Taiwan-based study investigated changes in brain volume in people with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease, searching for a pattern that might help differentiate between to the two conditions more easily.

The study found that although both ET and PD patients showed a decrease in brain volume in areas involved with movement and muscle control, it also showed increases in other distinct areas. Researchers speculate that this is due to the ability of the brain to compensate for damaged areas by developing and strengthening new pathways, thus increasing the size of those areas.

Although further study is needed, it appears that looking specifically at the areas of the brain that increase in volume, along with other diagnostic and assessment tools, may allow physicians to more accurately differentiate between ET and PD.

Read the abstract.

Focused ultrasound Phase 1 study results presented

Recently, during the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, IETF Medical Advisory Board Member Dr. W. Jeffrey Elias presented the results of the first phase of the University of Virginia’s focused ultrasound study. Elias reported that after one year, study participants showed improvements in daily disabilities and quality of life. Publication of the actual study data is pending.

Read more about focused ultrasound.Dr. W. Jeffrey Elias photo

Where Has My Button Been?

Omaha 2 WHMBBHello Everyone!

We had so much fun at the Omaha Education Seminar and we all learned a lot from Drs. Torres-Russotto and Follett. We want to give both of them a huge thank you for sharing their time and expertise about ET. To learn more about the Movement Disorders Center at the University of Nebraska in Omaha go to http://www.unmc.edu/neurologicalsciences/movement_disorders.htm.Omaha Event WHMBB

Please join us in Irvine, CA for the upcoming event on Saturday, April 27. You can learn more at http://www.essentialtremor.org/Seminars. I would love to meet and share in the experience with you.

Mindfulness & ET

When medical or surgical therapy has not controlled all of the symptoms of essential tremor, some people have found that focused breathing and meditation are effective practices for calming the mind and body. In the cover story of our most recent Tremor Talk magazine, Dr. Monique Giroux writes that employing such mindfulness strategies can reduce the negative impact of stress and sharpen the mind’s potential for personal healing.

Dr. Giroux is co-founder of the Movement and Neuroperformance Center of Colorado in Englewood, Colo., and medical director of movement disorders for Swedish Medical Center.

“It is a way to stay in the present moment, engaging in life and living life as fully as you can,” she says. “Mindfulness can be a helpful tool to enhance the effect of medicine and surgery on tremor control. The next time your tremor feels ‘out of control,’ take a moment to reflect, and know that you have control in how you respond.”

Is mindfulness part of your regimen to regulate ET’s impact on your life? What has your personal experience been? Please share: inquiring minds want to know!