HONG KONG, Jan. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As the search continues for non-invasive ways to treat neurodegenerative diseases, focused ultrasounds have become an alternative to surgery when it comes to treating essential and Parkinson’s tremors. This month on CNN’s ‘Vital Signs’, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks to the experts working on this non-invasive therapeutic technology and explores how this technology improved the life of a patient who is suffering from familial tremors.
Although humans cannot hear ultrasound, it is a potent sound that can still have a big impact on their world. The treatment of brain disorders using focused ultrasound procedures is continually evolving. Those with tremors turning to this out-patient procedure have often seen immediate improvements. While the technology continues to undergo clinical trials around the world, its uses have expanded to include treating depression and reducing tumors.
Dr. Gupta follows the medical journey of 80-year-old Brenda Hric, who has familial tremors that have afflicted her family for generations. He visits the Focused Ultrasound Center at the University of Virginia where this version of functional neurosurgery, the targeting of precise structures deep in the brain with ultrasound, is used in the hope of stopping Brenda’s tremors. CNN joins her as she becomes one of the 9,000-plus patients worldwide to undergo the procedure and finds out how it changes her life.
CNN also talks to neurosurgeon Dr. Jeff Elias, one of the pioneers in treating essential tremors using ultrasound. In 2011, he led the clinical trials that proved to be critical in gaining regulatory approval for this specific procedure in the United States. He equates the procedure in the brain to a cardiac ablation, where abnormal heart rhythms are disrupted by burning or freezing targeted muscles in the heart.
Finally, CNN hears from Dr. Neal Kassell, founder and chairman of Focused Ultrasound Foundation, an organization working to drive clinical research and advocate for the developing technology. While focused ultrasound technology is deployed globally in various stages, from clinical trials to approved regulatory use with many applications still in the nascent stages, he believes that focused ultrasound will be a mainstream therapy for millions of patients every year around the world within the next decade.
Airtimes for 30-minute special:
Saturday, 21st January at 1:30pm HKT
Sunday, 22nd January at 7pm HKT
Monday, 23rd January at 2am and 12pm HKT
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SOURCE CNN International