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.
Come spend some time with me and Dr. Pratap Chand Saturday morning, August 17, 2013 from 9:30 – 11:30 am at the St Louis Airport Marriott learning more about essential tremor. Go to www.essentialtremor.org/seminars to register. I look forward to meeting you and together learning about the medications, surgical options and research that is being done in ET.
Come and wear your button and take a picture with me so we can show people where our buttons have been and also to increase awareness around the St Louis area!
We had a great time in Milwaukee with 80 people attending the extremely educational ET seminar. The presentations were very well done and provided a lot of information. Dr. Pahapill talked about his 20 year experience in the treatment of ET with deep brain stimulation and Dr. Blindauer reviewed the many medications that are often used and why some may not be successful in the treatment of ET.
We will be facilitating another free ET education event/seminar on August 10 in Milwaukee. Come join us as we get together with the ET community to learn more about the diagnosis process and treatments available from Drs. Karen Blindauer and Peter Pahapill of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Follow this link www.essentialtremor.org/seminars to register online or call toll-free at 888-387-3667. We look forward to seeing you there!
It 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.
How does ET make you feel? A new video centers on the ways ET can make life challenging. Featuring six individuals who share personal stories about their life with ET, Essential Tremor is more than a tremor aims to broaden awareness and understanding about ET among healthcare providers and the general public.
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.
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.
NBC News – Los Angeles
Roger’s passion is the violin, but a neurological disorder called essential tremor (ET) makes it nearly impossible to play. To steady his hands, Roger underwent brain surgery for a procedure called deep brain stimulation that allowed him to play the violin while doctors fired signals into his brain to target the tremors.