The future standard of treatment for Parkinson’s disease is HIFU

Parkinson’s disease treatment

Parkinson’s disease is an ailment in which a person has a so-called parkinsonian tremor and stiffness of movement. The patient has impaired motor function, which is associated with a time delay in corrective afferent signals. In this regard, the realization of motor abilities and the preservation of the posture occurs due to the constant correction of the body position to a certain average value.

This disease has a progressive form. To reduce its development, Propranolol is used to control tremor, but patients are more familiar with Pramipexole and Rivastigmine. There are side effects from these drugs, they are well known.

Focused ultrasound ablation of the subthalamic nucleus of the brain

Today, the HIFU technology (Haifa) should be considered a fundamentally new non-invasive treatment for Parkinson’s disease. It involves the use of high-frequency concentrated ultrasound.

Today Spain has become one of the first countries in Europe where this technology exists and is already actively used. We are the only ones with effective experience in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

This is a revolutionary and unique technology designed to treat patients with familial tremors. It has proven to be useful against one of the most common and still incurable movement disorders, Parkinson’s disease. We also recommend that you familiarize yourself with Tremor Treatment.

The accumulated experience of the successful application of Haifu exists only in Valencia (for 2020).

How does HIFU work?

With the help of 3T magnetic resonance technology and neuronavigation, a localized zone is calculated, which will be treated with a concentrated and narrowly directed beam of ultrasonic waves. The localized area in this case is a few millimeters of the subthalamic nucleus of the brain.

As the cells of this zone are warmed up, an instant and clear clinical improvement of the tremor occurs. The final stage is local ablation of the thalamic zone, which is responsible for movement disorders, and the complete restoration of the patient’s motor functions.

Technical information on HIFU

For the procedure using Haifu technology, special equipment and hardware are used. It is represented by a stereotaxic head frame (helmet), which is connected to an MRI-compatible ultrasound transducer (1024 ultrasound sources that are directed to a specific neural zone). After stereotactic navigation using MRI, the ultrasound energy is sequentially calibrated to temperatures sufficient to ablate tissue (approximately 55 to 60 ° C). Each short-term ultrasound treatment is monitored by magnetic resonance thermometry, direct clinical assessment of tremor reduction and side effects is performed.

Before the procedure, the patient is trimmed bald because the space between the helmet and the head will be occupied by water. The standard and required size of the neural zone is 2 by 2 mm. This eliminates the possibility of damage to other parts of the brain. Ablation lasts only 7 seconds. The task is to exclude the work of a certain number of neurons forever, while not destroying neighboring neural circuits.

The whole process takes 2 hours. First, there is a brain scan, then image calibration and simulation. After that, the process of titration of temperatures is carried out with a gradual increase until a clinical effect appears. All this time, a neurologist is nearby, who constantly monitors and evaluates the clinical results, while the patient himself is conscious, no anesthesia is applied. (Patient on video without medication)

In 2020, ultrasound treatment is applied to two hemispheres of the brain (*). Heating of neurons and further local ablation with a concentrated wave beam of a specific neuronal nucleus suggests the absence of side effects. If the Gamma Knife technology implies the use of 120 Gray radiation, and subsequently the edema of neural tissues, then HIFU eliminates this side effect. For comparison, here is an image:

What are the results?

The disappearance of the tremor is observed immediately after the therapy. The patient is under observation for several hours. Believe it or not, the clinical picture is impressive. People with hand tremors, who for many years could not drink a glass of water on their own, can write and draw the very next day.

How much does Parkinson’s disease treatment cost?

The cost of a course of treatment is up to 20,000 euros. The entire course consists of three stages:

  1. A week is devoted to: diagnostics, examinations, consultations. Allows you to determine the possibility of using HIFU for a specific person.
  2. Carrying out ultrasound treatment. Lasts 2 hours.
  3. The result is instant. Outpatient follow-up.

HIFU side effects?

As the experience of using Haifu technology shows, a person who has undergone a procedure using it has no side effects. There may be a violation of the sensitivity of the taste buds, the sensitivity of the fingers may be affected. Some patients emphasize a slight change in the taste of food. This situation is associated with a small local edema affecting nearby neuronal circuits. The situation is not critical, as it goes away in just a few days.

An improvement in the clinical picture is observed over the next 2 months. After 6 months, there will be the final result. After that, it is possible to use HIFU in the second hemisphere of the brain.

Results

At first glance, everything is complicated. At the same time, many people suffering from a serious illness have already been able to return to normal life. Not everyone can benefit from this technology. So, only a third of those who applied were admitted to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease through the use of focused ultrasound. Note that everyone who has experienced its effect on themselves, note a positive effect – recovery, the absence of previously existing negative symptoms.

To find out exactly whether this is possible in your situation or not, you need to undergo an examination. To record and answer your questions, use the feedback form or write to us by e-mail. After analyzing the request, the doctor will certainly answer you.

Dr. Oleg Korzhykov

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