Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor

Essential-tremor-is-characterized-by-sporadic-and-postural-tremor-on-hands

We have already blogged about “benign” essential tremor.

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Here is a recap of the patient featured in one of those previous posts. He has a long history of worsening essential tremor, which has not responded to oral medications, and has made it impossible for him to hold a cup or write with a pen:

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He decided to undergo deep brain stimulation, a procedure where tiny electrodes are placed into deep nuclei inside the brain. When these electrodes are activated, they cause an interruption in the brain circuits which cause tremor:

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Here he is, after surgery, with the electrodes switched off:

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Here he is with the electrodes to both sides of the brain switched on, see how much better his tremor is, particularly on the right side:

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He can write and hold a cup for the first time in >10 years.

These same pathways can be inactivated by gamma knife radiosurgery in tremor patients who cannot undergo deep brain stimulation because of blood thinners, dementia or some other medical problem.

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