Advanced MRI Technique may Improve Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease


Newly developed MRI techniques recently developed may serve to provide better outcomes for Parkinson’s diseases and essential tremor. These techniques do so by rightly targeting a small area in the brain thus serving to provide better outcome without the need of surgery and with less chance of negative side effects. The hypothesis is suggested by a team of researchers at UT Southwestern.

The study describes how recently refined MRI techniques are designed that enable neuroradiologists to examine a pea-sized region in the brain’s thalamus responsible for the disorder. “With the help of images produced via MRI, doctors can the use high-intensity focused ultrasound to burn away, or ablate problem issue,” said the first author of the study.

“The benefit of these techniques are doctors can better target the part of brain they need to. And, because these techniques do not hit the wrong target, the adverse effects are fewer,” added the lead author of the study.

Newly Developed Techniques to be employed soon at UTSW

Meanwhile, the procedures are already approved for use in patients by the Food and Drug Administration, and UT Southwestern plans to start using them soon. The tentative plan is to start using the procedure on commencement of Neuro High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Program this fall.

On the other hand, adverse effects of imprecise targeting of brain parts include problems slurring words or walking. While such negative effects are usually temporary, they can last permanently in 15 to 20 percent patients.

According to statistics of National Institute of Health, Parkinson’s disease affects above 1 million Americans and essential tremoraffects almost 10 million Americans. Both are neurological disorders and are said to have genetic links. As a first line of treatment, medication is given for involuntary trembling or shaking associated with these diseases.

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