MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Several million people people in the U.S. suffer from a neurological disorder known as ‘essential tremor’.
While it’s not life threatening, the involuntary constant shaking can significantly affect a person’s quality of life.
Now an innovative new treatment is giving them a steady hand.
Alexandra Lebenthal, 52, says it takes an un-steady hand to appreciate a steady one. Lebenthal, who was diagnosed with essential tremor, said if affected every aspect of her life.
“Taking a glass of wine or sparkling water from a tray at a party, being able to take a picture with my iPhone. So many basic, basic things,” said Lebenthal.
She was one of the first patients to receive a new, FDA approved, treatment. Dr. Michael Kaplitt said it uses a non-invasive ultrasound device called Exablate Neuro which targets the part of the brain causing the shaking.
“It allows us to send ultrasound waves to specific spots in the brain and actually change the way the brain functions,” said Dr. Kaplitt.
Patients have reported a nearly 50 percent improvement in their tremors. The procedure can only be done on one side of the brain.
Lebenthal chose her right side of the brain because she’s left handed. She hopes one day modern medicine finds a way to eliminate her tremors all together, but for now having one steady hand has changed her life.
Researchers say the new procedure could potentially be applied to other neurological disorders including epilepsy.