Researchers have reportedly performed the first clinical trial of its kind using focused ultrasound treatment to help treat dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease.

These researchers, from the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia, performed the treatments as part of international pilot studies of 40 patients investigating how well MR-guided focused ultrasound pallidotomy treats dyskinesia—or involuntary movement—that occurs with Parkinson’s disease, according to a media release from Focused Ultrasound Foundation.

With focused ultrasound, the release notes, magnetic resonance imaging is used to guide ultrasound waves through the intact skin and skull to reach the globus pallidus, a structure deep in the brain.

If successful, the release explains, this treatment could offer an alternative approach for certain patients with Parkinson’s disease who have failed medical therapy or have become disabled from medication-induced dyskinesia.

Howard M. Eisenberg, MD, chair of Neurosurgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, notes in the release that the research community is excited to offer patients a new, noninvasive therapy to control their Parkinson’s symptoms.

“The neurology community has made significant strides in helping patients with Parkinson’s over the years; utilization of MR-guided focused ultrasound could help limit the life-altering side effects like dyskinesia to make the disease more manageable and less debilitating,” he states in the release.

“This opens up a new frontier for focused ultrasound therapy, building upon previous research which suggests that focused ultrasound can alleviate essential tremor,” says Jeff Elias, MD, professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Virginia, in the release.

The studies are being conducted using the ExAblate Neuro system developed by Insightec, according to the release.

[Source(s): Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Newswise]