- To date, most focused ultrasound treatments for essential tremor only address the patient’s dominant side, but many might need to be treated on both sides.
- Data from a clinical trial suggest that bilateral treatment is feasible and may also be safe and effective.
Because many patients with essential tremor who have been treated with focused ultrasound on one side of the brain might need to be treated on both sides, a collaborative research team in Germany, Switzerland, and Spain led by Professor Jose Obeso conducted a bilateral clinical trial to investigate this possibility. The group conducted a case series of nine patients with treatment refractory essential tremor who previously underwent unilateral focused ultrasound. Each participant received an additional focused ultrasound thalamotomy on the previously untreated side of the brain. The second treatments were staged to occur at least five months after the first. After analyzing adverse events and Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST) scores, the team determined that the bilateral, staged treatment was feasible and may be safe and effective. They also noticed that some of the patients had improvement in their voice and head tremors. The group recommended proceeding with a controlled study.