Focused ultrasound shows potential to benefit people with Parkinson’s disease

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A scalpel-free various to mind surgical procedure has the potential to profit folks with Parkinson’s illness signs which might be rather more extreme on one aspect of the physique, new analysis suggests.

Extra testing is required, however the strategy, which makes use of a expertise known as targeted ultrasound, might supply a brand new possibility for sufferers whose signs are poorly managed by drugs and people who can not or don’t want to bear conventional mind surgical procedure.

“This small mind area, the subthalamic nucleus, had a really sturdy and potent impact on parkinsonian signs after we focused it with exact, targeted ultrasound vitality,” mentioned researcher Jeff Elias, MD, a neurosurgeon at UVA Well being and a pioneer within the discipline of targeted ultrasound. “The important thing for the final word adoption of this new process will probably be additional refinements of the expertise to make sure reliability and security.”

About targeted ultrasound

Centered ultrasound gives a minimally invasive various to conventional surgical procedure approaches. The expertise focuses sound waves contained in the physique, very similar to a magnifying glass focuses gentle. This enables medical doctors to interrupt defective mind circuits or destroy undesirable tissue. Magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) permits medical doctors to observe the process in actual time – and to make changes as wanted to acquire one of the best affected person outcomes.

To find out if the expertise may benefit sufferers with “asymmetrical” Parkinson’s signs, Elias and Binit Shah, MD, from UVA’s Division of Neurology, collaborated with Spain’s Centro Intregral de Neurociencias to guage the strategy in 40 volunteers in a randomized, double-blinded examine. Twenty-seven examine members obtained remedy with targeted ultrasound, whereas 13 others obtained a simulated remedy, in order that the researchers might evaluate the outcomes between the true process and the placebo. The typical age of examine members was 57.

The volunteers’ signs earlier than and after the process have been assessed on a scale of 1-44. Those that obtained the targeted ultrasound process noticed an enchancment of 10 factors, whereas those that obtained the sham remedy noticed a distinction of lower than two factors.

The examine additionally appeared on the security of the process. Unwanted side effects included undesirable actions, muscle weak point, speech disturbances and problem strolling. Typically, these have been non permanent, however some results persevered in six sufferers a yr later.

The outcomes warrant extra research in bigger numbers of volunteers carried out over longer intervals of time, the researchers conclude.

Parkinson’s illness impacts sufferers in additional methods than simply tremor. The present FDA approval for targeted ultrasound in Parkinson’s illness treats solely tremor. Focusing on this new space permits us to enhance tremor but in addition get extra total profit for our sufferers than we beforehand have been capable of obtain.”

Binit Shah, MD, UVA’s Division of Neurology

About UVA’s targeted ultrasound analysis

UVA has been at the vanguard of analysis into the expertise’s potential to deal with illness. For instance, the federal Meals and Drug Administration authorized targeted ultrasound for the remedy of important tremor, a standard motion dysfunction, based mostly on Elias’ pioneering analysis. His work additionally paved the best way for the FDA to authorize the expertise to deal with tremors brought on by Parkinson’s illness.

Different researchers at UVA are investigating the expertise’s potential to deal with all kinds of situations, together with epilepsy and breast most cancers.

Findings revealed

Elias and his colleagues have revealed their newest findings within the prestigious New England Journal of Drugs. The analysis staff consisted of Raúl Martínez-Fernández, Jorge U. Máñez-Miró, Rafael Rodríguez-Rojas, Marta del Álamo, Binit B. Shah, Frida Hernández-Fernández, Jose A. Pineda-Pardo, Mariana H.G. Monje, Beatriz Fernández-Rodríguez, Scott A. Sperling, David Mata-Marín, Pasqualina Guida, Fernando Alonso-Frech, Ignacio Obeso, Carmen Gasca-Salas, Lydia Vela-Desojo, Elias and Jose A. Obeso.

The analysis was supported by InSightec, the producer of the targeted ultrasound expertise; Charlottesville’s Centered Ultrasound Basis, a longtime supporter of UVA’s targeted ultrasound analysis; Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid; Fundación Hospitales de Madrid; and a College of Virginia Heart of Excellence grant. Elias disclosed that his division at UVA has obtained analysis funding from InSightec, however the firm had no function within the examine design or evaluation. A full listing of creator disclosures is included within the paper within the New England Journal of Drugs.


College of Virginia Well being System

Journal reference:

Martínez-Fernández, R., et al. (2020) Randomized Trial of Centered Ultrasound Subthalamotomy for Parkinson’s Illness. New England Journal of Drugs.

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