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| 1 minute read

Life-altering focused ultrasound treatments improve the lives of patients with essential tremor

I am drawn to stories about the exciting medical breakthroughs brought about by advances in imaging technology. Such is the case of non-surgical treatment of individuals who suffer from essential tremor.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first MRI-guided focused ultrasound device to treat essential tremor in patients who have not responded to medication in 2016, and use of this technology has been accelerating ever since. Recently, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, reported from the University of Virginia on UVA Health's use of this procedure to improve the lives of people with this condition.

Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. Typically, tremors can occur in the hands, disrupting the ability of individuals with this condition to perform ordinary tasks such as eating, drinking or writing. It can occurs in populations 40 years and older, and is reported to impact approximately 25 million individuals worldwide. 

I wish for my mother, who suffered from this condition, that she could have had the opportunity to consider the use this medical breakthrough in her lifetime. We have to be grateful to those physicians and scientists whose ingenuity and creativity bring such extraordinary medical advances to help improve the lives of so many!

While Gupta’s story centers on an essential tremor procedure, it also highlights the vast potential of the focused ultrasound technology. For example, focused ultrasound could be used to briefly open the brain’s natural protective barrier to allow doctors to administer treatments, now impossible, for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.


imaging, ultrasound, health care & life sciences