Learning about Essential Tremor: Live Event & Webcast

Webcast-for-BlogIn partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, join us for a free ET event in Nashville on the diagnosis process, treatment options, current research and more. This special event will also simulcast via a FREE LIVE WEBCAST nationwide for those who cannot attend in person.

Speakers:

  • Fenna Phibbs, MD – Neurologist
  • Hong Yu, MD – Neurosurgeon
  • Cissy Voight – Physical Therapist

Saturday, Aug.16, 2014
Hutton Hotel, Nashville, TN
1808 West End Ave. | Nashville, TN 37203
or
Via Live Webcast
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT

Register today!
Live Event: essentialtremor.org/seminars
Live Webcast: bit.ly/Aug2014Webcast

Four outstanding students awarded IETF scholarships

IETF Scholarship Winner Paul Schoolman

The International Essential Tremor Foundation is pleased to award four students who are affected by essential tremor with $500 scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year:  Alyssa Mendelsohn from Baltimore, Md.; Kaleigh Knapp from Concord, N.C.; Paul Schoolman from Sykesville, Md.; and Sarah Kunz from Waverly, Minn.

“These four students exhibit impressive qualifications based on academic and extracurricular activities in their communities and will become outstanding, future leaders in helping create more awareness about essential tremor,” said Catherine Rice, Executive Director of the IETF.

IETF scholarships are awarded to qualified students of all ages who have been diagnosed with ET, to lessen the burden of higher education. The scholarship can be used for supplies, books or tuition at licensed, accredited institutions of higher education (including trade schools) and are paid directly to the educational institution. For more information about the IETF scholarship program, please visit www.essentialtremor.org/about-the-ietf/scholarships.

IETF Funds Ground-Breaking Research for 2014

Brain-blk-and-bluThe IETF is excited to fund three new research studies totaling $85,000 this year. These studies are stepping stones to moving our knowledge forward and can provide progress to change the world for everyone with ET.

The Role of Excitotoxicity in ET Cerebellum – IETF Funded $25,000
The goal of this research is to investigate the role of excitotoxicity in the postmortem ET cerebellum. Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which nerve cells are damaged and killed by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters. It has been a suggested approach for ET, however there has yet to be any direct evidence that excitotoxicity plays a role in ET patients. Read more.

Cerebello-Thalamo-Cortical Coupling in ET: Effects of High-Frequency Cerebellar Stimulation on Brain Activity & Tremor – IETF Funded $25,000
Tremor is associated with abnormal activity within different brain regions, particularly the thalamus and cerebellum. Transcranial stimulation (tACS) of the cerebellum may represent a non-invasive therapeutic option for ET patients. TACS is a new technique allowing manipulation of rhythmic patterns in the brain’s cortex with externally applied electrical frequencies. Read more.

A Feasibility Study for an ET Brain Bank at the Arizona Study of Aging & Neurodegenerative Disorders – IETF Funded $35,000
Now in its third IETF-funded year, researchers will continue to examine the brain tissue of those with ET and other neurological disorders after death, searching for a greater understanding of how ET changes the features of the brain, and hopefully leading to more effective diagnostic tools. Read more.

Grant funding was provided to the IETF from its own annual donors, people directly affected by this life-altering condition. If you’d like to become an annual donor, please click here. As our way of saying thank you, you will also receive the new e-book “Essential Tremor: What the Experts Say.”

Liftware Device Donations

Liftware-DeviceLast fall, Lift Labs introduced Liftware, a device designated to help people whose hand tremor gets in the way of simple tasks like eating. In honor of National Essential Tremor Month in March, Lift Labs was able to match contributions made through an Indiegogo campaign, dollar for dollar.

As a result, Lift Labs went above and beyond the goal of $7,500 and raised over $17,000 allowing them to send several free devices to the IETF to provide to those in economic hardship. Due to the overwhelming success, Lift Labs is continuing the campaign to push for $20,000.

The device retails for $295. If you would like to be considered to receive a donated Liftware device, please complete an application online. Or help contribute to the campaign by visiting: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lift-labs-march-match.

Introducing a new, free e-book from ET experts

Ebook-Cover-2014-for-webThe IETF is excited to offer the new, e-book, Essential Tremor: What the Experts Say, exclusively available to annual donors who make a contribution of $30 or more. Through this comprehensive collection of informative articles, you’ll gain insight and a better understanding of essential tremor through the knowledge of the world’s finest movement disorders specialists and experts.

Now in its third edition, the e-book features over 80 articles filled with invaluable information for you to reference time and time again. The e-book is compatible with any e-Reader as well as available for download in PDF format.

The IETF thanks the many physicians, health care providers, and other individuals that contributed time and effort to make these articles possible. These people have contributed greatly to the success of the IETF over the years.

Make your annual donation today and receive the new, e-book, Essential Tremor: What the Experts Say as our way of saying thank you for your contribution.

Free Brain Health Fair

BrainDive deep into the boss of our bodies and explore the wonders of the brain with us at the FREE Brain Health Fair in Philadelphia. On April 26, the IETF will join world-class neurologists and several other neurological organizations to celebrate Brain Health Awareness Day and to educate local families. Brain Health Fair participants will get a first-hand look at the ins and outs of the brain. Activities include vent features educational classes on brain diseases and treatment options, health screenings, free giveaways and resources, plus interactive exhibits for the whole family.

The Brain Fair will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and is presented by the Brain Foundation and the America Academy of Neurology, educational partners of the IETF.

The IETF is just one of several exhibitors at the event, so please stop by our booth and also check out other exhibitors. Registration is free, but encouraged in advance. To register or to learn more about the event, visit www.BrainHealthFair.com.

Brain Health Fair
Saturday, April 26, 2014
10 AM – 4 PM
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A
1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Activities:
Hold a human brain
View animal brains
Examine microscopic brain tissue
Free bike helmets (limited)
Participate in swim cap brain art
Learn to cook brain healthy food
Therapy dogs
Brain Health Classes
Cranial Nerve Experience Stations
Kid’s Play Area
Music Performances
Celebrity Autographs
And more!

The Goulden Touch Sponsors IETF Scholarship

Robbie+Gould+Washington+Redskins+v+Chicago+fAjyTF7rGlYlAll Pro Kicker Robbie Gould has a mission to help students affected by ET. That’s why his public charity, The Goulden Touch will sponsor a $500 educational scholarship through the IETF. The scholarship is available for students of all ages living in the Chicagoland area.

While this particular scholarship is limited to the Chicago area, the IETF also offers other $500 scholarships for students affected by ET l
iving throughout the nation. Scholarships are awarded to qualified post-high school students of all ages who have been diagnosed with ET, to lessen the burden of higher education. The scholarship can be used for supplies, books or tuition at licensed, accredited institutions of higher education (including trade schools) and are paid directly to the educational institution. The fall semester application deadline is May 1, 2014, with the scholarship award announcement on July 15, 2014.To apply for The Goulden Touch Scholarship and or to learn more about other available scholarships, visit http://essentialtremor.org/about-the-ietf/scholarships/.

Researchers prove resistance training benefits dexterity in ET patients

hand_weights_on_workout_matA recent IETF-funded study shows resistance training to be a possible therapy for individuals with ET. A team of researchers from Griffith University and Bond University in Australia identified that a generalized resistance training program for the upper limb is capable of improving manual dexterity in individuals with ET, and to a lesser degree, reduce abduction force tremor.

“Given that resistance training (RT) can reduce tremor amplitude and improve upper limb fine motor control in older adults, it is surprising that few studies have explored RT as a therapy for older adults with ET,” said Dr. Justin Keogh, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine of Bond University.

The lack of existing research inspired Keogh and his research team to compare healthy, older adults living with ET to those without ET through function tests. The function tests were used to assess activities common to everyday life. After a six-week resistance training program involving dumbbell bicep curls, wrist flexion and wrist extension exercises, functions test results significantly improved.

Results show that a simple dumbbell-based resistance training program had many significant benefits for older adults, with and without essential tremor. This indicated that both groups of older adults can significantly improve many real-world measures of manual dexterity. The greatest benefits following resistance training were gained for the limb most affected due to the disorder. This study is great news for individuals with ET to further explore the use resistance training as a viable therapy for improving upper
limb-function and ultimately, improving their quality of life.

To learn more about other IETF-funded research, please visit: http://essentialtremor.org/research/ietf-funded-research/.

Phase III of Focused Ultrasound Trial Begins

 

Dr. W. Jeffrey Elias photo

Dr. Jeffrey Elias and the ExAblate

The first patient has been treated as part of a Phase III trial evaluating the success and safety of treatment using the ExAblate Neuro on essential tremor patients. The study builds on promising pilot studies demonstrating the preliminary safety and effectiveness of MR guided focused ultrasound technology. Read about Phase I of the trial here.

The results of this trial are expected to support a submission of the ExAblate Neuro to the FDA for Pre-Market Approval.

InSightec, makers of the ExAblate Neuro, will be partnering with BIRD (US-Israel Binational Industry R&D) and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation for this trial.

Find information on registering for this and other essential tremor studies at clinicaltrials.gov.

Results From Focused Ultrasound Study

 

ultrasoundstudy_patients

Dr. Jeff Elias (center) and the patients who participated in the essential tremor study at UVA

The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the pilot trial for the use of focused ultrasound to treat patients with essential tremor. These Phase I results indicate that focused ultrasound can safely and effectively treat targeted areas deep in the brain.  In focused ultrasound, more than 1,000 ultrasound waves are focused to a single site in the thalamus for the treatment.

The study included 15 patients with essential tremor that could not be managed by medication. Jeffrey Elias, MD, neurosurgeon at the University of Virginia and IETF Medical Advisory Board member, is the lead investigator of the study.

Phase I findings:

  • Dominant hand tremor improved by 75 percent.
  • Substantial improvements in daily disabilities (85 percent) and quality of life as assessed by clinicians and patients.
  • Outcomes and complications were comparable to surgical procedures for tremor, including radio frequency thalamotomy and deep brain stimulation.

Phase III of this study will begin soon. For information on how to register, visit clinicaltrials.gov.

The IETF will continue to watch as results of focused ultrasound studies are posted. Large, randomized controlled trials will be required to assess the procedure’s efficacy and safety.

Watch a video featuring Billy Williams, the first patient treated with focused ultrasound for essential tremor.