Essential Tremor Treated With High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound
Dr. Michael Kaplitt is the first doctor in New York to use high-intensity focused ultrasound [HIFU] to relieve a patient’s Essential Tremor – ET. The procedure is part of a new clinical trial testing the use of this technology to eliminate the source of tremors in a completely non-invasive way. Dr. Kaplitt and his neurosurgical team, along with Dr. Levi Chazen from Radiology and Dr. Harini Sarva from Neurology, were able to watch as the patient’s tremor diminished visibly during the procedure. [Listen to his patient Steve here at CBJ as he tells you what it felt like coming out of HIFU treatment.]
Essential tremor may be mild in some individuals, but in others, it can become debilitating over time. The tremors, which are often most severe in the hands, can interfere with everyday activities such as eating, drinking, writing or tying shoelaces.
Patient Experience with Dr. Kaplitt’s Team
We asked for this interview after working with For a previous CBJ report from a healed golfer-patient treated by Dr. Kaplitt with HIFU listen here: CBJ/221. This Ultrasound tool and the Tremor Treatment Team at Weill Cornell Brain & Spine is simply amazing.
Current treatment options for ET include medication as well as Deep-Brain Stimulation (DBS), which involves implanting a battery-operated neurotransmitter under the collarbone connected to a wire that runs up the length of the neck into the scalp, where it is guided to the brain through a small hole in the skull. The tip of this wire sends the electrical impulses generated by the neurotransmitter into the precise spot in the brain that regulates the activity of the key circuits in essential tremor. In a phrase, brain surgery.
Michael Kaplitt MD, Ph.D., and the Weill Cornell team are also national leaders in the use of DBS for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and a variety of other disorders for more than 15 years.
Listen up as Dr. Kaplitt discusses with us this remarkable new, non-invasive procedure to correct ET without brain surgery. – And he answers some of my questions about Parkinson’s as well.
Additional Research Work
Dr. Kaplitt has pioneered human gene therapy for neurodegenerative disorders, having performed as a student the first rodent study that used the adeno-associated virus (AAV) vehicle for gene transfer to the brain.
He performed the world’s first human gene therapy procedure for Parkinson’s disease and more recently helped to guide the first successful randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial of this experimental treatment, which was the first positive trial of this kind for gene therapy in any brain disorder.
On The Psychiatric Side
He is also pioneering the development of novel deep brain stimulation treatments for psychiatric conditions, including refractory drug addiction. Dr. Kaplitt is an internationally recognized expert in the science of gene therapy and molecular neurobiology, and his current focus is to understand molecular disease mechanisms and develop novel molecular therapies for Parkinson’s disease, depression, addiction, and pain.
He has published over 100 articles and has edited two books on these subjects, with publications from his lab appearing in the most prestigious international journals, including Science, Science Translational Medicine, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and Lancet. His basic science lab has received funding from the National Institutes of Health since 2004 and has also been the recipient of major funding from the Department of Defense and several major private foundations.
Dr. Kaplitt is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Gene Therapy. In 2004 he was named to Crain’s 40 under 40 list of 40 young New Yorkers and in 2015 he was elected to membership in the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation, the honor society for scientists focused upon clinical and translational research. He has also been elected to membership in the Society for Neurological Surgeons, the honor society for senior neurosurgeons.
And on top of all of these credentials, he’s a great guy to interview on these ground-breaking treatment tools. You will enjoy this conversation.
- https://www.webmd.com/brain/essential-tremor-basics#1 The Brain and Essential Tremors
- Article: http://weillcornellbrainandspine.org/focused-ultrasound-new-hope-movement-disorders
- ET at Weill Cornell Medical: http://weillcornellbrainandspine.org/et
Previous Guest – A Patient Treated by Dr. Kaplitt’s Team
- Golfer Steven Smith on his ET Recovery at http://corebrainjournal.com/221
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Thanks, Dr. Kaplitt, for joining us here at CBJ to review your remarkable experiences working with essential tremor using high intensity focused ultrasound without invasive brain surgery.
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233 Sarah Anne Shockley is the author of The Pain Companion. In the Fall of 2007, she contracted Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), which is a collapse of the area between the clavicles and first ribs and has lived with debilitating nerve pain ever since. She has been a regular columnist for Pain News Network and is a regular contributor to The Mighty, a 1.5 million–member online community for those living with chronic illness and pain. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and you can visit her online at http://www.ThePainCompanion.com. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is often missed and often quite easily corrected with structural attention to this interface as well as correcting underlying sacral base unleveling.