Brain Disorders: At a Glance
The Foundation considers the brain to be the vanguard target for focused ultrasound. Given the challenges of accessing the brain and the high cost and limitations of some conventional approaches, we believe that this noninvasive technology has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many brain disorders.
Our Brain Program
Since its inception, the Foundation has been developing its Brain Program to fund important research exploring focused ultrasound’s impact on the treatment of a wide variety of brain disorders. Learn More
Areas of Interest
Great strides have been made in using focused ultrasound ablation for treatment of movement disorders, with FDA approvals for essential tremor and both Parkinson’s disease tremor and dyskinesia.
Learn More About Focused Ultrasound for Essential Tremor
Learn More About Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Disease
Glioblastoma is one kind of devastating brain tumor with very poor survival. Focused ultrasound is being used to temporarily disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in multiple clinical trials with the goal of enhancing chemotherapy penetration to reach the tumor. In sonodynamic therapy, it causes structural changes in agents that preferentially accumulate in tumors resulting in local toxicity to the tumor.
Learn More About Focused Ultrasound for Brain Tumors
There are many types of degenerative brain disorders, and focused ultrasound-induced BBB disruption is being explored to allow medication to reach the brain in adequate concentrations to have an impact. Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are two of the indications for which research is most advanced, but this approach could impact many additional diseases. Early-stage work is using focused ultrasound to enhance the glycemic drainage of waste products from the brain, which may be a crucial part of many degenerative disorders.
Learn More About Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Disease
Learn More About Focused Ultrasound for Alzheimer’s Disease
The treatment of epilepsy can involve destruction of the epileptic tissue or neuromodulation, which is reduction in the excitability of the tissue. Both approaches are in clinical trials.
Learn More About Focused Ultrasound for Epilepsy
Problems in the nervous system can result in chronic pain, called neuropathic pain (NP). Though treatment of NP with conventional therapy can be very difficult or impossible, clinical trials using focused ultrasound to treat neuropathic pain are under way.
Learn More About Focused Ultrasound for Neuropathic Pain
The following videos and webinar recordings introduce the exciting fields of brain therapy and focused ultrasound.
Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Disease
The Foundation’s Chief Medical Officer, Tim Meakem, MD, provides an overview of focused ultrasound for Parkinson’s disease. He discusses the basics of focused ultrasound as a therapeutic technology, then reviews the current research status of focused ultrasound for Parkinson’s, including ongoing clinical trials.
Focused Ultrasound for Glioblastoma
Suzanne LeBlang, MD, director of clinical relationships at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, provides information on focused ultrasound treatments for glioblastoma.
Webinar: Expanding the Horizon – Focused Ultrasound and Medication-Refractory Epilepsy
Learn about focused ultrasound as a treatment for epilepsy in this webinar. Neurosurgeon Vibhor Krishna, MD, moderates a panel of experts who discuss the safety and efficacy of focused ultrasound to treat epilepsy and the need to develop less invasive approaches for this debilitating condition. The panel also includes an epilepsy patient who participated in a focused ultrasound clinical trial.
The Patient Experience
John | Parkinson’s Disease
John suffers from both Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis (MS). While he reports his MS is under control, the tremors caused by the Parkinson’s had significantly diminished his quality of life. Watch behind-the-scenes footage from his ‘miracle’ focused ultrasound treatment.
Rick | Essential Tremor
Rick has essential tremor, a benign tremor that commonly affects one’s hands. He has suffered all his life with tremors that leave him embarrassed in public and unable to complete everyday tasks. After undergoing focused ultrasound treatment, his hands are still for the first time in his life.
Terri | Neuropathic Pain
Multiple surgeries and pain medications provided no relief for Terri’s neuropathic pain. Then she found a focused ultrasound trial at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Dheeraj Ghandi, MD, and the Maryland team successfully treated Terri’s pain with focused ultrasound in the fall of 2020.
Workshops & Recommended Reading
Since 2009, the Foundation has organized and hosted 16 workshops on brain disorders and focused ultrasound. Special sessions of our biennial symposia and other workshops have also covered various brain-related topics.
Focused Ultrasound for Alzheimer’s Disease Workshop (PDF) | June 2023
Focused Ultrasound for Glioblastoma Workshop (PDF) | May 2021
Focused Ultrasound Treatment of Pediatric Benign Brain Tumors Workshop (PDF) | December 2020
Diffusion MRI Guidance for Transcranial Focused Ultrasound (PDF) | August 2019
Focused Ultrasound Opening of the Blood-Brain Barrier for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease (PDF) | October 2018
Focused Ultrasound and Blood-Brain Barrier Workshop Summary (PDF) | November 2017
Psychiatric Workshop (PDF) | October 2017
FUS for Glioblastoma Workshop (PDF) | November 2015
Alzheimer’s Workshop (PDF) | September 2015
Brain Treatment Envelope & Simulation Workshop (PDF) | February 2015
Neuromodulation Workshop (PDF) | March 2014
FUSF Brain Mini-Workshop: Blood Brain Barrier and Targeted Drug Delivery Summary (PDF) | September 2013
FUSF Brain Mini-Workshop: Treatment Envelope Expansion (PDF) | June 2013
FUSF Brain Mini-Workshop Summary (PDF) | July 2012
FUSF Brain Workshop (PDF) | October 2011
Brain Workshop #2 | March 2010
Brain Workshop #1 | March 2009
Focused Ultrasound Foundation Symposium Summary 2022 (PDF)
Focused Ultrasound Foundation Symposium Summary 2020 (PDF)
Focused Ultrasound Foundation Symposium Summary 2018 (PDF)
Focused Ultrasound Foundation Symposium Summary 2016 (PDF)
Focused Ultrasound Foundation Symposium Summary 2014 (PDF)
By partnering with organizations who share our passion for results and collaboration, we expand our reach in the global community, deepen stakeholder investment, and leverage our donors’ contributions to advance our mission. Partnerships include but are not limited to fundraising, in-kind contributions, awareness, strategic input, and advancing critical research.
If you would like to know more about the Foundation’s Brain Program, please contact Chief Medical Officer, Tim Meakem, MD.