UVA Researchers Find New, Minimally Invasive Treatment for Parkinson's
A treatment studied at University of Virginia Medical Center is replacing scalpels with sound waves in hopes of helping patients with Parkinson’s disease.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A treatment studied at the University of Virginia Health System is replacing scalpels with sound waves in hopes of helping patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Hospitals all over the country can now start using the new treatment, thanks to its approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
A group of researchers in the focused ultrasound lab have been working to make treatment easier for patients at UVA, and are hoping their hard work could soon change the lives of people across the country living with Parkinson’s.
"I really think this technology offers a really different approach to managing severe neurological symptoms for people,” Dr. Jeff Elias, who works in UVA's neurological surgery department, said. “People are naturally attracted to the incision-less type of approach.”
Dr. Elias and his colleagues have been hard at work to find a minimally invasive treatment for Parkinson's tremor.
“We like to say it’s differently invasive - while there’s no incision or holes made, but it does focus a lot of energy deep inside the brain and it’s really nice because we use MRI to really carefully monitor exactly where the treatment’s going and its intensity,” Elias said.
Researchers at the focused ultra sound center have studied the moods and behaviors of dozens of adults and have confirmed the study is safe and that it improves patients overall well-being.
“Focused ultrasound is now a viable option for people that run into problems and have limitations with their medical therapy, and so there are now more medical options for people that develop severe symptoms that can't be controlled with medication,” Elias said.
Now that the treatment has been approved by the FDA, Elias and his team hope to help change the lives of people with Parkinson’s all over the country.
“Hopefully there will be a lot more treatment options for people with neurological disease,” Elias said.
Researchers at the University of Virginia are studying ways to use the scalpel-free surgery's potential to treat many other conditions, including breast cancer, brain tumors, epilepsy, and chronic pain.