Essential tremor (ET) can be good cause for pessimism. An obstacle that many ET patients run up against is the lack of knowledge on the part of doctors. According to Peter Muller, an ET patient and Executive Director of a support organization called HopeNET, there is a great need to raise awareness, especially among doctors. Muller writes, “Among many people who know they have Essential Tremor, there is a sense of hopelessness. In the U.S. today there is an expectation that going to a doctor will result in improvement of just about any condition. Yet today, the most common ways that doctors treat ET are the medications Propranolol (Inderal) and Primidone (Mysoline) and the surgical treatment Deep Brain Stimulation (for severe cases).” 1 Furthermore, many physicians don’t realize the impact of this disability on the personal and professional aspects of a person’s life. Those with ET may be misunderstood, and often perceived as nervous (hand tremor) or not good at public speaking (voice tremor). Even a mild degree of disability may mean when they are applying for jobs they are passed over.
Muller’s own story is an example of the embarrassment, frustration, and emotional exhaustion of life with ET. Because of the genetic component in his case, he was not the first in his family to experience the ways in which ET effects quality of life. However, he was determined to find not only solutions to everyday problems, but to organize a concerted way to educate and support ET patients, and raise funds for medical research. He founded HopeNET as a way to conquer the hopelessness that embeds itself in the minds and hearts of patients.
Peter Muller discovered new hope through a breakthrough treatment called MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) for the control of severe tremor. MRgFUS is a noninvasive ablation (destruction) of the small part of the brain called the thalamus, which controls tremor. Its effect is similar to that of an invasive surgery called thalamotomy, which involves physically entering the skull and brain to access the thalamus. MRgFUS is an alternative to the implants needed for Deep Brain Stimulation. Instead, MRgFUS noninvasively focuses ultrasound, or sound energy, with pinpoint accuracy into the area to be ablated. The soundwaves are aimed from many directions toward the area to be ablated. They pass harmlessly through the skull and brain until they all converge (meet) with pinpoint accuracy at the target. Once there, they generate enough heat to have a therapeutic effect. The painless procedure is done under real-time MRI guidance. For appropriate patients, it is highly effective. See a 3=minute video of Peter Muller’s transformation on his blog at http://thehopenet.org/blog/. Scroll down to “Peter’s Improved Quality of Life Since Undergoing Focused Ultrasound Treatment For ET (Before and After)”.
The Sperling Medical Group is proud to offer ET patients new optimism through the Neuravive MRgFUS procedure for the treatment of ET. If you or a loved one is suffering with challenges due to ET, contact the Sperling Medical Group to learn if Neuravive MRgFUS is right for you.