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The University of Virginia will unveil its new world-class squash facility on Sept. 19, and the sport's elite ranks have begun lining up to offer their seals of approval. The $12.4 million McArthur Squash Center at the Boar's Head Sports Club opened its ... more
University of Virginia
Foundation News - Focused Ultrasound Foundation
Essential Tremor Treatment Shows Promise
Additionally, a parallel study involving six patients is being conducted at the University of Toronto, also with funding from the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation.
According to Elias, the patient group treated during the first phase of the trial was a "relatively pure population," meaning the subjects didn't have Parkinson's-like features or other conditions along with ET.
"These people were very severely disabled with tremor, and all had difficulty with things such as feeding themselves, getting dressed, and writing," Elias says.
"Some patients are afraid to undergo [an invasive] surgical procedure, and many of them are just sitting at home living with their disability.
They don't die from tremor, but it's extremely debilitating."
Patient Selection and Treatment
To be selected for this MR-guided focused ultrasound trial, patients with ET went to a multidisciplinary movement disorder clinic, according to Elias.
Movement disorder neurologists evaluated them and clinically diagnosed ET by performing extensive comprehensive testing of the patients' tremor to assign a quantitative score and assess functional limitations and disabilities, Elias explains.
They also underwent an MRI to rule out other neurodegenerative conditions.
The procedure, essentially a focused ultrasound thalamotomy, involved administering a series of focused ultrasound pulses through the patient's scalp and skull to a specific spot in the thalamus known as the ventral intermediate nucleus.
"The ultrasound transducer is MR compatible, so it's inside the MRI machine.
And while it's sonocating the brain, we're watching the treatment on the MRI so we can kind of confirm the treatment is precise in location and grade the intensity of the treatment," Elias says.
"The patient is also awake during the procedure, and this provides [a measure of] safety because they can respond.
"This technology combines the best of MRI for a diagnostic visualization of the brain as well as the ultrasound for the therapeutic aspects," Elias says.
"It's a novel feature to be able to watch treatment as it's being delivered."
The procedure takes approximately three hours to perform, though Elias hopes that as it is refined and technology continues to advance, it will require less time.
The patients were hospitalized overnight and then underwent extensive evaluations at one day, one week, one month, and three months after the procedure.
"We hope to have a safe and effective noninvasive option for people and hope to study using this treatment with other disorders," Elias says.
Dr. Elias presenting the pivotal study design at the Focused Ultrasound SymposiumInSightec has completed enrollment in the pivotal study of their ExAblate Neuro system for the treatment of essential tremor.
mycology | JT Embry and Associates
The TEDxCharlottesville video of
The TEDxCharlottesville video of Dr. Jeff Elias is now available. Check out his...The TEDxCharlottesville video of Dr. Jeff Elias is now available. Check out
Elias Khaidhir Bin Elias
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