June 19, 2013
For years, focused ultrasound has been used to treat tumors and cancer.
Matt Eames, Director of Extramural Research at Focused Ultrasound Foundation, said, "It does this in a way that only the tissue at the focus is destroy by the ultrasound and all of the tissue that surround the focus is unaffected."
Now, at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville, they have all eyes are on the brain to target the side effects of Parkinson's disease, the shaking.
Eames explained, "Dyskinesia is a side effect of therapy for Parkinson's disease. It is essentially a movement disorder. It causes people to shake or move uncontrollably and the side effect of this is really a quality of life issue."
The Michael J. Fox Foundation awarded the Focused Ultrasound Foundation with a $600,000 grant. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is now able to further its research and study the safety and effectiveness of focused ultrasound in treating dyskinesia.
Pamela Minetti, Director of Development at Focused Ultrasound Foundation, said, "This is really an endorsement of the potential of focused ultrasound to help so many patients with Parkinson's disease."
Right now, the only way to treat the shaking and uncontrollable movements of many Parkinson's patients is by an invasive surgery that inserts an electrode in the brain. The non-invasive and targeted ability of the focused ultrasound could give another option to some patients.
Eames said, "Patients are often unable to feed themselves, unable to perform simple tasks like making a phone call or brushing their teeth. By providing them with a better treatment option, we could drastically improve their day to day life activities."
Previous studies focusing on tremors showed great success toward treating the Parkinson's side effects.