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article imageMedics use sonic waves for deep brain surgery

By Tim Sandle     Dec 9, 2016 in Science
London - British medial researchers have successfully used sonic waves to operate deep inside the brain of a patient. The novel treatment was used with a person who suffered from uncontrollable tremors in their hands.
The sonic treatment was developed by medics based at St Mary's hospital in London. For the process the medics took a conventional magnetic resonance imaging devised for routine scanning, and deployed it to produce a focused ultrasound designed to target and to destroy tissue. The errant tissue was diagnosed as causing problematic electrical signals to to muscles. which caused the tremors. The tissue resides in the brain, in the area of the thalamus, which is situated between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. Some of the functions of the thalamus are with the relaying of sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex.
Magnetic resonance imaging is normally used as a medical imaging technique. The premise is that some atomic nuclei absorb and emit radio frequency energy when placed in an external magnetic field, which helps form an image. The process creates pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body. An example is as an investigative tool for neurological cancers.
The new process, using sound waves to heal, has been profiled by the BBC. For this 1,024 high-intensity, focused ultrasound beams were directed towards the thalamus in the brain of the patient. Inside the tissues the ultrasound waves trigger molecules to vibrate and enable selective tissue to be destroyed.
What is also so novel about the treatment is that the ultrasound process did not involve any surgery at all; moreover there are no side-effects and no drugs are required. Dr Peter Bain told the news organization that ultrasound brain surgery had an "enormous future" following the success of the trial. In the future it could be explored for other neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease.
The patient, Selwyn Lucas, hailed from Cornwall in England. The 52 year-old man had been suffering with uncontrollable tremors in his right hand for several years. The treatment has been declared a complete success.
More about Brain surgery, deep brain surgery, sound waves, Sonic, Medical
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