Scientists from the University of Maryland have shown that focused ultrasound can reduce tremor and improve mobility in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine .
The study involved 94 patients with Parkinson’s disease. They were randomly assigned to two groups: participants from the control group received a sham procedure, and those from the experimental group received ultrasound treatment without incisions using the Exable Neuro device.
Three months later, symptoms improved in 32% of patients in the control group and 70% of the experimental group. For most, the effect of the procedure persisted a year later.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Sometimes deep brain stimulation (DBS) with surgically implanted electrodes is used for treatment. The procedure carries a small risk of serious side effects, including cerebral hemorrhage and infection. The scientists’ technique does not require incisions, and the patient is conscious during the procedure.
The study was funded by Insightec, the manufacturer of Exable Neuro.