Essential Tremor is a chronic, progressive neurological disease which has the identifying feature of a kinetic tremor.
This tremor is different to what is experienced by people with Parkinson’s. Essential Tremors are rapid and fine, starting at the fingertips and especially evident with anything that requires a lot of dexterity, such as writing, drinking a cup of coffee or threading a needle.
With Essential Tremor, the affected hand is quiet when it’s at rest – for example, when you’re watching TV with your hands resting in your lap. But as soon as you move your hand to do something, like grab the remote, the tremor starts.
A new treatment option called Focused Ultrasound is giving hope to people with severely disabling and medically refractory Essential Tremor.
Focused Ultrasound is a non-invasive one-step treatment option relative to Deep Brain Stimulation and involves targeted tissue thermal ablation.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides detailed images of the brain in real time during the surgery and permits precise localisation and real-time monitoring of the targeted tissue to prevent collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor lobby groups across Australia are trying to get Focus Ultrasound on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and a Federal Community Affairs Legislation Committee is being briefed in October.
Having Focused Ultrasound on the MBS would help provide a safe and effective alternative treatment option to people with Essential Tremor, and address a high clinical need for patients who are contraindicated or unwilling to accept the risks associated with current treatment options.
We will keep you updated on this important work.