Raúl Martínez-Fernández et al showed that focused ultrasound subthalamotomy has the potential to benefit people with Parkinson’s disease symptoms that are much more severe on one side of the body. The minimally invasive technology focused on sound waves inside the body that allowed doctors to interrupt faulty brain circuits or destroy unwanted tissue. The imaging-guided procedure created therapeutic lesions in the deep-brain structures, including the subthalamic nucleus which is the preferred neurosurgical target to treat cardinal motor features of Parkinson’s disease. Magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) allowed doctors to monitor the procedure in real-time and make adjustments as needed. The team evaluated the approach in 40 volunteers with markedly asymmetric Parkinson’s disease whose symptoms were poorly controlled by medications and those who cannot or do not wish to undergo traditional brain surgery. Twenty-seven participants received treatment with focused ultrasound, while 13 underwent a sham procedure. The mean movement disorder society–unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale (MDS-UPDRS) motor score III for the more affected side decreased from 19.9 at baseline to 9.9 at 4 months in the active-treatment group and from 18.7 to 17.1 in the control group.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine 2020| 383:2501-2513|December 24, 2020| DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2016311| https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2016311