Angela Roberts | (TNS) The Baltimore Sun
The other day, Melanie Carlson took her 5-year-old daughter shopping for a bathing suit.
Since they couldn’t find a suit in the first store, they stopped by a second. Then, Carlson drove them to a third store, acutely aware, the whole time, that this mundane afternoon would have been nearly impossible for her to experience less than a year earlier.
“All the little things,” she said, “I’m just very thankful for.”
Carlson, a 41-year-old who lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., has Parkinson’s disease — a neurodegenerative disorder that affects about 1 million Americans and causes shaking, stiffness and difficulty with balance and coordination.
Until recently, the medication Carlson took to manage the disorder caused dyskinesia, involuntary muscle jerks and spasms that made it hard for her to walk, let alone drive. Leaving her house was exhausting, both physically and emotionally, and she was terrified her symptoms would make her drop her young daughter.
But in June, Carlson became one of the first Parkinson’s patients to undergo a minimally-invasive procedure at the University of Maryland Medical Center that uses focused ultrasound to relieve symptoms of the disease and the side-effects of the medicine used to treat it.
The procedure, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2021 to treat advanced Parkinson’s on one side of the brain, was recently tested in a clinical trial led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The results, according to a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, were promising. Nearly 70% of patients who received the treatment showed improvements in symptoms, compared to 32% of patients in the control group, who received a sham procedure without focused ultrasound.
The study was carried out at the University of Maryland Medical Center and 15 other sites in North America, Asia and Europe. Those in the treatment group, which included 69 of the study’s total 94 participants, often experienced immediate relief from severe symptoms, such as tremors, rigidity in the arms and legs, and from dyskinesia.
Two-thirds of the patients who responded to the treatment continued to benefit from it a year later, according to the study. Participants will continue to be followed by researchers for five years to determine how long the treatment’s benefits last, and how it affects the progression of their disease.
Like other treatments for Parkinson’s, Exablate Neuro — the device used to conduct the focused ultrasound procedure — …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News