Sound Waves Can Heal Brain Disorders (Scientific American):
“…Physicians are also considering high-intensity focused ultrasound as an alternative to brain surgery. Patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and dystonia are increasingly being treated with implanted electrodes, which can interrupt problematic brain activity. A team at the University of Virginia hopes to use focused ultrasound to deliver thermal lesions deep into the brain without having patients go under the knife…The benefits of focused ultrasound might extend well beyond restoring mobility and delivering drugs. Other groups are exploring its use in treating neuropathic pain and obsessive-compulsive disorder, too.”
Study: A Pilot Study of Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Essential Tremor (The New England Journal of Medicine)
- Background: Recent advances have enabled delivery of high-intensity focused ultrasound through the intact human cranium with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance. This preliminary study investigates the use of transcranial MRI-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy for the treatment of essential tremor.
Conclusions: In this pilot study, essential tremor improved in 15 patients treated with MRI-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy. Large, randomized, controlled trials will be required to assess the procedure’s efficacy and safety.
To learn more:
- Good survey of brain stimulation methods, value and limitations
- Session What’s next: The future of non-invasive neurotechnology, at the upcoming 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (October 28–30th)