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Ultrasound Treatment for Tremors and Parkinsons Disease - Essay Example

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The work "Ultrasound Treatment for Tremors and Parkinson’s Disease" focuses on a degenerative disorder of the brain that clinically manifests as a movement disorder. The author outlines the debilitating nature of the disease, the aspects of ultrasound treatment, the limitations of therapeutic ultrasound…
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Ultrasound Treatment for Tremors and Parkinsons Disease
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Download file to see previous pages Considering the debilitating nature of the disease, many preventive and curative approaches have been used for its treatment. These include medications, botulinum toxin injections, and neurosurgical approaches. Drugs commonly used include those with dopamine agonist activity, such as levodopa and clozapine. Anticholinergics are also used, and other second-line drugs include propranolol, amantadine, and clonazepam.
Although these medications are generally effective, some PD patients’ tremor does not respond to first-line or second-line medications, and surgery- or, in other words, invasive ‘neuromodulation’ - is attempted. Approaches with acceptable success rates include ‘thermocoagulation’ and ‘deep brain stimulation’ at various brain sites, including the thalamus, globus pallidus, and subthalamic nucleus.
Other neuromodulation techniques include vagus nerve stimulation, epidural cortical stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and many others. Some are invasive, while others are non-invasive procedures. These neuromodulation techniques are reported to achieve good to excellent tremor control while posing minimal risks to the patient (6). However, there are many important limitations to these techniques. For instance, deep brain stimulation involves complex neurosurgery and neurostimulators that require periodic battery replacements. Vagus nerve stimulation and other techniques that are non-invasive have a poor spatial resolution. The use of functional MRI has improved the safety and usability of these techniques, however, it is a cumbersome, expensive addition to the procedure. There would be, therefore, many potential benefits of using a non-invasive procedure that did not entail these limitations (1).
Ultrasound technology is widely used in diagnostic imaging. It involves mechanical vibrations above the threshold of human hearing of 16 kHz. Ultrasound can be emitted from a transducer to penetrate tissue and reflect off it, allowing capture of reflected waves and formation of an image. Ultrasound beams can also be focused by transducers to a width of only a few millimeters, and targeted on specific tissue. The following figure demonstrates how a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) transducer is used to target ultrasound onto a selected lesion site (3), (9). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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