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New alternative treatment for tremor and Parkinson's disease

New alternative treatment for tremor and Parkinson's disease


The USZ is the only university center in Switzerland to offer ultrasound-based tremor MR treatment. Minimally invasive treatment is an effective alternative for patients with severe, refractory essential tremor or Parkinson's tremor and can significantly improve their quality of life.

There are only a few centers around the world that offer this therapy. For many years pioneering work has been done with the device at Zurich Children's Hospital. Work is now suspended. Instead, since August 2019, the USZ is the most modern used device. New alternative treatment for tremor and Parkinson's disease 2

In a special head unit 1024, ultrasound sources are specifically focused on the area of ​​the brain being treated.

USZ New alternative treatment for tremor and Parkinson's disease 2

The 2- to 5-millimeter target area is monitored by MRI.


Essential tremor is inherited, and thus a family disorder and one of the most common neurological movement disorders, which can lead to severe shaking of hands or feet, so that, for example, writing alone or drinking from a glass is not possible.

From Parkinson's tremors, on the other hand, tremor occurs especially at rest. Patients often withdraw and progress as the disease progresses, resulting in a significantly reduced quality of life.

They effectively affect disturbed brain networks

The MR focused ultrasound therapy offered by USZ treatment is the choice for treatment-resistant isolated tremor, especially if deep brain stimulation is not appropriate or too burdensome. To this end, an interdisciplinary team of neurologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons and specialists in medical and technical radiology collaborates closely with the USZ. Coordinated, careful planning and implementation are crucial because the treated area of ​​the brain is irreversibly eliminated.

This is achieved by intentionally heating a target of only 2-5 mm in size to approximately 60 ° C using 1024 ultrasonic sources distributed around the head and eventually thermally switch off. Warming is monitored in real time by MRI.

Patients directly benefit from therapy. This ends in a one-off session for about two hours. Treatment costs are covered by basic insurance.

There is no alternative to deep brain stimulation

Directed ultrasound therapy is used when tremor appears as an isolated symptom and severely limits it. Other indications, such as epilepsy, are under discussion. If movement disorders like Parkinson's do not focus on shaking alone, deep brain stimulation is often a better alternative to treatment. Although it is associated with surgery, it does not destroy any brain tissue, so it is reversible and suitable for treating a much wider range of diseases and symptoms.

Scientific contact:

Lennart Stieglitz, PD honey. honey.
Chief Medical Officer, Department of Neurosurgery, Zurich University Hospital

Further information:

More about concentrated ultrasound therapy can be found here: Focused ultrasound

Nathalie Pluss | idw – Science Information Service

Further information: