A scalpel-free alternative to brain surgery has the potential to benefit people with Parkinson’s disease symptoms that are much more severe on one side of the body, new research suggests. More testing is needed, but the approach, which uses a technology called focused ultrasound, could offer a new option for patients whose symptoms are poorly controlled by medications and those who cannot or do not wish to undergo traditional brain surgery.
To determine if the technology could benefit patients with “asymmetrical” Parkinson’s symptoms, Elias and Binit Shah, MD, from UVA’s Department of Neurology, collaborated with Spain’s Centro Intregral de Neurociencias to evaluate the approach in 40 volunteers in a randomized, double-blinded study. Twenty-seven study participants received treatment with focused ultrasound, while 13 others received a simulated treatment, so that the researchers could compare the results between the real procedure and the placebo. The average age of study participants was 57.