WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)-- Imagine shaking so severe you could not control your hands well enough to write, or enjoy a meal. It happened to 56-year-old Dot Highberg of Burtonsville, Md., fifteen years ago.
"[When] it first started, it was the body, and then it went to just waist up," Highberg said. She was diagnosed with essential tremors, a type of involuntary movement disorder that does not have a clear cause.
The tremors became concentrated in her hands. Leaving her without the ability to play the piano and write as well as she used to.
University of Virginia Health System researchers called Highberg and asked her to participate in a trail that uses ultrasound to treat essential tremors.
The clinical trial at the University of Virginia shows essential tremors can be treated by directing ultrasound directly to the thalamus portion of the brain.
The non-invasive procedure offered immediate results.
UVA Neurosurgeon Jeffery Elias, M.D. presented the findings at the 80th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons last April. They reported all 15 participants in the trial saw a substantial reduction in their tremors after the procedure.
Dot's tremors in her right hand had completely stopped. She can sew and play the piano again.
The clinical trial is partnered with the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation.