Mayo Clinic Minute: When to consider deep brain stimulation for essential tremor

Essential tremor is a nervous system situation that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. While it’s typically mistaken for Parkinson’s illness, Dr. Philip Tipton, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, says essential tremor could be very completely different. There are remedy choices for essential tremor, together with deep brain stimulation.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (1:10) is within the downloads on the finish of this put up. Please courtesy: “Mayo Clinic News Network.” Read the script.

Essential tremor impacts round 10 million individuals within the U.S. The situation is often not harmful, but it surely sometimes worsens over time and will be extreme in some individuals, making it tough to work or carry out every day actions. That’s when remedy choices needs to be mentioned.

“When I’m thinking about treatment approaches, the first thing that I’m asking is what body parts are affected,” says Dr. Tipton.

He says oral treatment is often efficient in bettering signs when tremors are within the arms. Botox injections will be significantly helpful in treating tremors involving the top, legs, and, typically, the voice.

“Fortunately, we have another treatment option, deep brain stimulation, that can help tremor in virtually any body part,” says Dr. Tipton. “If the other therapies aren’t getting you the mileage that you need, that’s when it’s time to consider deep brain stimulation.”

Electrodes positioned in sure areas of the brain assist right brain alerts that trigger tremors.

“We have sort of a tremor circuit, if you will. And much like radio signals may be jammed by some kind of interference device, the deep brain stimulation seems to jam that tremor circuit. And the end result is less tremor,” says Dr. Tipon.

“There’s this moment in the operating room, when you’re trying to treat someone with tremor, when you get the electrode in the right spot, you turn on the electrical stimulation, and then the tremor just melts away. I mean, it’s almost instantaneous. It’s something that never gets old to see,” he says.

Dr. Tipton says deep brain stimulation should not be checked out as a final resort to deal with tremors, however fairly a way to enhance high quality of life.

“Maybe you’re a photographer or maybe you’re a surgeon, and you need to have very intense control over a tremor. So something that may not look like much tremor to one person can be life-changing for another,” says Dr. Tipton.

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