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UVA Study Could Lead to Cure for Tremor from Parkinson's - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Study Could Lead to Cure for Tremor from Parkinson's

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A study at the University of Virginia could lead to a cure for tremor caused by Parkinson's disease.  It could even be the first step toward treating the symptoms of other movement disorders.

It's a groundbreaking study and if it works, one ultrasound to the brain could be an alternative to brain surgery for Parkinson's patients.

"Patients and their families and their doctors are all very interested in minimally invasive treatments," said UVA neurosurgeon Dr. Jeff Elias. 

That's just what Dr. Elias and his colleagues at UVA are working towards - a minimally invasive treatment for Parkinson's tremor.

Dr. Elias said, "We're utilizing focused ultrasound technology and this is technology that's coupled with MRI guidance, so we have the best of MRI visualization and the noninvasiveness of ultrasound, so that there's no incisions or holes drilled."

The study is funded in part by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. 

"The reason for funding a Parkinson's study, first of all, there's a large unmet clinical need," said Matt Eames with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation.  "A lot of patients are not interested in deep brain stimulation."

If the study is successful, the treatment could be an alternative to brain surgery.

"This technology utilizes over a thousand ultrasound beams, and they're all focused very precisely through your scalp and scull to an area that's about one or two millimeters of accuracy," Dr. Elias said.

That means that a two- to three-hour treatment could wipe out a patient's tremor from Parkinson's.

Two people have already undergone treatment, and the study's limit is 30 people.  They're still looking for more participants.  Click here for more information.

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