The University of Virginia School of Medicine says its new, scalpel-free surgery may help people with Parkinson’s disease that has resisted other forms of treatment.
UVA, a pioneer in focused ultrasound surgery, has applied it to Parkinson’s patients with severe tremors that would not respond to other treatments.
“Absolutely there are improvements in terms of tremor,” said Scott Sperling, a clinical neuropsychologist at UVA. “Even modest improvements in their tremor control post-operatively, that can actually lead to a very significant improvement in terms of their day-to-day functioning.”
20 patients underwent the ultrasound treatments to interrupt the faulty brain circuits that led to the tremors. All 20 patients reported improvements at three and 12 months. It was a small, but promising clinical trial that will need FDA approval for widespread use.