Parkinson’s treatments: What is focused ultrasound therapy?

MRI film for neurological medical treatment

Focused ultrasound therapy (FUS) is an early-stage, single-procedure, non-invasive technology to manage tremor and dyskinesia. It is FDA-approved and is approved to treat tremor outside the US as well. It treats Parkinson’s symptoms through focused beams of ultrasonic energy that target specific areas deep in the brain, interrupting circuits involved with tremor and dyskinesia. Using a mechanism called ablation, the focused beams can disrupt targeted brain tissue to treat motor symptoms. Because focused ultrasound allows for precise targeting of areas of the brain, there is no damage to healthy tissue.

Other FUS mechanisms can temporarily disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB), allowing desired therapeutics access into the brain. This disruption of the BBB is also beneficial because it enables undesirable substances to leave the brain more easily.

Because FUS involves no incisions, holes in the skull, or electrodes in the brain, it can provide a powerful alternative to deep brain stimulation (DBS) with less risk of complications, as well as a lower cost. It does not require subsequent procedures, office visits for battery replacement, broken wire repair, or appointments to adjust simulator settings.

Researchers are currently exploring whether focused ultrasound can treat Parkinson’s underlying pathology and prevent progression and restore function. Preclinical studies suggest that FUS may restore function given its ability to temporarily open the BBB to improve the delivery of therapies such as anti-alpha synuclein antibodies, neuroprotective and neurorestorative drugs, and other therapies.

Recent focused ultrasound Research

Research is ongoing about FUS and its use as a Parkinson’s therapy. Read on for some recent news and findings about this treatment.

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