Finding the Right Alliance Member for You

The Essential Tremor Education Center, a social health company headquartered in Winter Park, Florida, aims to provide educational resources for those who are struggling with essential tremor and their loved ones. We believe that education is critical in the treatment of essential tremor. Through learning about essential tremor and the treatment options available, you can begin to take control over your own health.

Of course, the best information comes from physicians. You should always consult your physician before treatment, and we also want to provide you with physician-driven information so that you know what’s available. To provide you with the best resources possible, we provide an educational service through collaboration with an alliance of medical providers who have served pioneering roles in furthering research for essential tremor treatment. Our providers include Sperling Medical Group, Swedish Medical Center, the University of Maryland Medical Center, the University of Virginia Medical Center, and the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.

It’s with the help of these knowledgeable alliance members and their physicians that we’re able to deliver you physician-directed content that could help you in learning more about essential tremor. Today, we’d like to give you an easy way to learn more about what each medical center provides, as well as a way to reach out to inquire about treatment.

Alliance Member Homepage Phone Number Location Physician
Swedish Medical Center http://tremoreducation.com/swedish-medical-center/ 844-764-8736 Seattle, WA Dr. Ryder Gwinn
Sperling Medical Group http://tremoreducation.com/sperling-medical-group/ 844-426-3783 Delray Beach, FL Dr. Travis Tierney and Dr. Dan Sperling
University of Maryland Medical Center http://tremoreducation.com/umd/ 844-638-7366 Baltimore, MD Dr. Howard Eisenberg
University of Virginia Medical Center http://tremoreducation.com/uva/ 844-488-2873 Charlottesville, VA Dr. Jeffrey Elias
Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center http://tremoreducation.com/weill-cornell/ 844-928-7366 New York, NY Dr. Michael Kaplitt

We hope you enjoy learning more about our alliance members and the quality treatment for essential tremor that they provide. If you’d like to learn more about essential tremor and treatment options through the Essential Tremor Education Center, please call us at 844-NO-TREMOR. Our team of educators are trained in essential tremor and the solutions available and would be happy to speak to you about what options may be available for you.

New York’s Essential Tremor Neuravive Treatment Pioneer: Dr. Kaplitt

Today, almost a year from the pioneering trial to diminish essential tremor symptoms, the Essential Tremor Education Center would like to highlight Dr. Kaplitt’s contributions to a new treatment. Dr. Kaplitt, from the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, is consistently named one of the top doctors in New York—and has been a major voice in educating people about the new, FDA-approved treatment option for essential tremor utilizing MR-guided focused ultrasound technology.

On July 21st, 2016, just shortly after it was FDA-approved, Dr. Kaplitt became the first doctor in New York to relieve essential tremor symptoms using Neuravive, a new procedure utilizing FDA-approved focused ultrasound technology. This was during a clinical trial that tested the use of focused ultrasound technology to locate and then lesion the source of the tremor—without invasive surgery. Focused ultrasound treatments had previously seen success in treating uterine fibroids, as well as breast and prostate cancer, and now the technology can be used to treat essential tremor. The focused ultrasound techniques are precise as they overcome the obstacle of penetrating the skull and lesion the troublesome area of the brain.

Dr. Kaplitt’s earlier contributions to neurological disorders made him an ideal participant to lead the trial; he had previously been a pioneer in testing the benefits of gene therapy for those with Parkinson’s. Participants in the essential tremor clinical trial treated by Dr. Kaplitt enjoyed a diminished tremor after undergoing treatment, and he’s excited about what the positive results of this trial could mean for not only essential tremor treatment, but other conditions including other movement disorders, Alzheimer’s, and metastatic brain tumors.

The successes of Dr. Kaplitt’s New York trial last summer have been highlighted on a number of shows such as the Charlie Rose Show, Good Day New York, and Business Insider. He’s appeared alongside one of his first patients, Alexandra Lebenthal, who serves as proof that MR-guided focused ultrasound treatment can be a potential benefit to those who have been suffering from hand tremor.

The Essential Tremor Education Center is glad that Weill Cornell, where Dr. Kaplitt utilizes this procedure, is one of our valued Alliance Members dedicated to educating more about essential tremor. If you or a loved one is experiencing essential tremor symptoms, please call us at 844-NO-TREMOR to learn more about essential tremor and the treatment options that may be available.

Meet 5 Doctors Dedicated to the Treatment of Essential Tremor

The Essential Tremor Education Center’s goal is to educate those with essential tremor and their loved ones about the condition, as well as the treatment options that may be available to them. To do so, the Center has assembled an alliance of medical centers that have been prominent in researching and treating tremor. Today, we’d like to highlight five of their doctors who are dedicated to essential tremor treatment.

  • Ryder Gwinn, MD

Dr. Ryder Gwinn is a neurosurgeon and Director of Epilepsy Surgery and Functional Neurosurgery at Swedish Medical Center, currently the largest nonprofit health provider in Seattle. Certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, Gwinn’s top focus at Swedish has been patients suffering from disorders of the spine and central nervous system. His research into MRI-guided focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor was a critical factor in getting the treatment approved by the FDA.

  • Travis Tierney, MD, DPhil

Dr. Travis Tierney is the Director of Neurosurgery from the Sperling Medical Group, a radiology-focused center that is nationally recognized as a leader in the use of MRI-guided technology. Tierney has played a role in bringing focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor to more patients. He was the Principal Investigator at the Harvard site of a multi-institutional clinical trial of MRgFUS to treat essential tremor, and is now the first in the world to have treated epilepsy using Neuravive.

  • Howard Eisenberg, MD

Dr. Howard Eisenberg is a neurosurgeon and the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Maryland Medical Center, one of the oldest teaching hospitals in the nation. His goal is to make treatment safer, less invasive, and more effective. His research on focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor has been highlighted by one of the top medical journals, the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Jeffrey Elias, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Elias is a neurosurgeon and the Director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center, recognized for the Center’s achievements in neurology and neurosurgery. Elias has been busy with research for essential tremor treatment—he has led 76 patients in an international clinical trial to show how focused ultrasound treatment can be both safe and effective for treating symptoms.

  • Dr. Michael Kaplitt, MD, Ph.D

Dr. Michael Kaplitt is a neurosurgeon and the Director of Movement Disorders and Pain at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, ranked the number one hospital in New York by the US News and World Report. Kaplitt is the first in New York to offer focused ultrasound treatment to those with essential tremor. He also serves on the editorial board for several highly prestigious scientific and medical journals.

The Essential Tremor Educational Center appreciates these alliance members for all they do to help educate and treat those with essential tremor. Their voices are already helping to push forward newer, less invasive essential tremor treatment options for many. If you’d like to learn more about essential tremor and these treatment options, please call us at 844-NO-TREMOR today, or take our End My Tremor Now quiz to determine potential treatment paths.

University of Maryland Medical Center’s Critical Role in the Pivotal Study for Focused Ultrasound

Although hand tremors are most commonly associated with Parkinson’s, another tremor is eight times as common: essential tremor. This action tremor can affect anyone, although it’s most often seen in people over 60. Despite a large number of people affected by essential tremor, it has not gained as much research as other types of tremors. Now, things are starting to change. Today, the Essential Tremor Education Center would like to look back at the early phases of a new essential tremor treatment: MR-guided focused ultrasound.

Up until recently, the main treatment options for essential tremor included medication or surgery. While they offered some relief to many patients, others were unresponsive to these treatments. In 2015, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) became one of eight sites involved in a clinical trial to treat essential tremor—without invasive surgery. UMMC’s team, led by Dr. Eisenburg, performed a preliminary trial of MR-guided focused ultrasound with 11 patients.

This new technique aimed to diminish tremor without the use of medication or surgery. During the procedure, MRI was used to locate the affected area of a patient’s brain that was causing the tremor. Then, focused ultrasound waves were used to lesion the area. Unlike invasive surgery, focused ultrasound techniques are less likely to lead to complications such as brain hemorrhage or infection.

The preliminary results were positive—many patients enjoyed a decreased tremor after treatment. The symptoms were evaluated periodically after treatment; some patients were monitored for a year, while others are being followed for five years after their treatment. Dr. Eisenburg’s hope is that patients will enjoy life with a diminished tremor for many years after the procedure.

The success of these trials has led to MR-guided focused ultrasound treatment being approved by the FDA. Treatments are being performed more widely since the initial trials, with many patients still enjoying their results. The Essential Tremor Education Center is interested to see how this new essential tremor treatment may continue to benefit more patients in the future. If you’d like to learn more about this treatment, or other treatment options for tremors, please call our educators at 844-NO-TREMOR to see what options may be available, or take our End My Tremor Now quiz to determine potential treatment paths.

A New Medical Group Was Formed Just for Focused Ultrasound Treatments

As focused ultrasound treatments become more well-known among physicians, more specialists are utilizing focused ultrasound to treat a wide variety of conditions. A new group has recently emerged to use focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor: Sperling Medical Group. Based in Delray Beach, Florida, they aim to perform minimal-to-non-invasive medical treatments, including treatment for essential tremor. The group is dedicated to providing excellent clinical care and patient comfort—making noninvasive treatments a key area to use for quality patient care.

Dan Sperling, the Medical Director of Sperling Medical Group, has taken interest in the ways that focused ultrasound procedures can lead to new breakthroughs in treating conditions without patients dealing with the stress of surgery or radiation. MR-guided focused ultrasound treatments have been FDA-approved for treating essential tremor, and patients have experienced a diminished tremor after undergoing treatment. The procedure uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to locate the sections of the brain causing the tremor and then utilizes focused ultrasound waves to lesion the targeted area.

Clinical trials are currently ongoing to see which conditions will benefit from focused ultrasound. There are already several conditions being examined to see the effects of treatment including:

  • Bone metastasis
  • Back pain caused by osteoarthritis
  • Prostate cancer
  • Uterine fibroids

Dan Sperling has gathered an established, specialized group of interventional physicians and radiologists for the Sperling Medical Group. With a diverse range of specialists, this group is hoping to help develop new, useful ways to utilize focused ultrasound treatments. The educators at The Essential Tremor Education Center are looking forward to seeing what new medical discoveries will become available through this group’s research.

It’s an exciting time to keep an eye on treatment for essential tremor. MR-guided focused ultrasound has already seen results on many with essential tremor. If you or a loved one currently has essential tremor and are interested in learning more about MR-guided focused ultrasound, call the Essential Tremor Education Center at 844-NO-TREMOR. Our educators aim to help others further understand essential tremor, as well as treatment options that may be available for relief.

Managing Liquids with Essential Tremor

For those with hand tremors, handling liquids can feel like a nightmare—and it becomes even more of a hassle when handling hot drinks, as spilling these can be dangerous. Although it can be a struggle for those with essential tremor to carry or drink fluids without spilling, it’s not impossible. The educators at the Essential Tremor Education Center have a few tips for handling liquids while minimizing the risk of a spill.

Hold Glasses Near the Rim

When you hold a glass near the bottom, this causes the glass to be top-heavy. As a result, any tremor is considerably more likely to cause liquids to splash out the sides. To prevent this from happening, avoid filling your glass fully, and then place your fingers at or above the water’s surface. This will help to balance the water. If you’re dealing with a full glass, place your hand above the glass and carry it with your fingertips placed just below the edge of the glass’s rim. Again, this will help keep it properly balanced.

Don’t Raise Your Hand

Be careful how high you raise your hand. If you raise your hand above your shoulder, then you’ll engage new muscles that will make it even easier to spill your drink. Instead, try to keep your drinking hand below your shoulder. This may seem awkward if you’re in the middle of a toast, but don’t worry—you can still keep your hand below shoulder level while other people move their glasses toward you.

Invest in Tall, Straight Glasses

Any glass that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom will be difficult to control for those with essential tremor. Instead, stock up on glasses and mugs that have straight, tall sides. These glasses are easier to hold and it will take less work to keep them balanced.

Be Patient and Plan Ahead

Even with taking precautions, spills will still happen. Be patient. Instead of being frustrated with the occasional spill, plan ahead so that an accident won’t be embarrassing or difficult to clean up. Try wearing dark clothes, as these will hide any stains. Also, if possible, use furniture with easy-to-clean surfaces.

Handling liquids may seem intimidating with hand tremors. But, by following these tips, it can be easier to prevent unwanted spills. If you or a loved one are currently looking for essential tremor relief, call the Essential Tremor Education Center at 844-NO-TREMOR today to chat with one of our educators. We aim to educate those with essential tremor about their options so that it’s easier to take your health into your own hands.

A New Treatment Option Gets Golfers Back to the Green

For someone that loves golfing, there must be no better feeling than a beautiful day and a perfect swing on that initial tee off. For some people with essential tremor, like Joe Cusenza, the first tee off is no longer a great beginning to a day of golfing, but an impossible task that proves to be more challenging than a hole in one. Essential tremor is a relatively common condition, and it’s recognized by the uncontrollable shakes that affect the extremities of those who are afflicted with it. Joe Cusenza’s essential tremor nearly left him unable to partake in his favorite activity, but with a new essential tremor treatment, he can now spend lengthy hours on the green and tee off easily.

The treatment that eased Cusenza’s hand tremors was called Neuravive. Unlike brain surgery, Neuravive is a procedure that uses FDA approved focused ultrasound technology (MRgFUS) to treat patients with essential tremor who have not responded to medication. MRgFUS uses conventional ultrasound beams, focused on a point inside of the brain, to destroy cells associated with the essential tremor. The results are typically felt immediately and the procedure generally does not require a hospital stay. The procedure is carefully targeted and tested first with harmless sound waves. Once the initial testing is complete, slightly stronger sound waves are used to verify the location to ensure the patient’s tremors are beginning to be reduced without side effect. The final, strongest beams, are meant to neutralize the cells causing essential tremor.

During the Neuravive treatment process, the patient is awake and communicating with the doctor administering the treatment. This is key for doctors to see the effects of the waves in real time as tremors fade and voluntary muscle control is gained. The patient also receives a button he or she can use to signal the doctor to stop or pause the process.

Neuravive has a strong safety profile and could be an effective option for patients with essential tremor that aren’t responding to medication. This option has enabled people like Cusenza to relieve their tremors and tee off without limitations. With the various essential tremor treatments available, including Neuravive, essential tremor sufferers have the potential to overcome their tremor.

Is Essential Tremor Hereditary?

If you or a loved one is suffering from essential tremor, you may be wondering if there’s any possibility it can be passed along or how you acquired it in the first place. The Essential Tremor Education Center experts want to provide you with knowledge about essential tremor and how it begins. There is not a lot of information regarding essential tremor causes, but what is known can be helpful to research when learning about the disorder.

Although the true cause of essential tremor is still not fully known or understood, there is evidence that it is hereditary. Essential tremor can be passed through generations of families, and genetics are responsible for causing it in half of everyone that has the condition. If you have essential tremor, there is a 50% chance that your child will also develop the condition. There are cases where essential tremor can occur in someone who has no familial history of the disorder.

Essential tremor affects approximately 10 million people in the U.S. and can make its first appearance in adolescents or middle aged people in their forties and fifties. It’s known to be hereditary due to one copy of an altered gene in each cell which is significant enough to cause the tremors. This inheritance is referred to as an autosomal dominant pattern. No genes that are responsible for causing essential tremor have been able to be identified. There are no known environmental causes, and recent research suggests that essential tremor can also be caused by changes in certain parts of the brain. Research continues to try to identify how and why these changes occur.

Essential tremor can greatly affect your life, but understanding the ways in which the disorder occurs and progresses is crucial to managing it. Essential tremor causes are largely hereditary, as research suggests. If you’re feeling discouraged about acquiring this condition, keep in mind that many people living with essential tremor are able to manage their tremors and live entirely normal lives. Becoming knowledgeable in all areas of essential tremor is extremely beneficial, and arming yourself with information is the first step to combatting symptoms. Research is a great start to accepting essential tremor and readying yourself to take back your life.

When Your Essential Tremor Needs More than Medication

Sometimes, essential tremor patients have many medication options, but are not satisfied with the results. You might be feeling helpless in the fight against your essential tremor. For many patients, medication isn’t enough to combat the symptoms faced everyday. Luckily, more than just one option for essential tremor treatment exists. When medications are failing, it may be helpful to consider other treatment options. Here are some reasons why your medication might not be working for you. You may wish to consider alternative procedures to handle your essential tremor.

Medicines Wear Off

Over time, medication effectiveness dwindles because the body develops a tolerance to the drug. This often happens with beta blockers used to treat essential tremor symptoms. Beta blockers can eventually become ineffective, especially when given in the same dose over an extended period. If your medication isn’t helping you like it once did, you may have built up a tolerance.

Symptoms Are Too Strong

The medications used to treat essential tremor are typically either anti-seizure medications or beta blockers, both of which can bring along undesirable side effects. Commonly reported symptoms of these drugs include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased sex drive, sleeping problems, or fatigue.

Medicines Impact Daily Life

Whether you’re experiencing one or all of these possible side effects, they could be interfering with your daily life. Essential tremor itself is enough to make everyday activities feel impossible, and lots of unwanted side effects can only make you feel worse. This is especially true if the medication is no longer relieving tremors. If your tremor is impacting your daily life, even while using medication, an alternative may be the solution:

  • Gamma Knife: Uses radiation on a small focal point to target a specific area in the brain. It’s intended to eliminate the overactive cells that cause tremors.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation: Involves the implantation of a device within the brain. The device regulates abnormal brain activity and nerve signals that cause tremors. This is a surgery and requires recovery time.
  • Neuravive: Uses focused ultrasound technology directed towards a single part of the brain to destroy cells linked to essential tremor. The results from this type of treatment are generally experienced immediately.

Don’t feel that medications are the only way to manage your essential tremor. Discuss alternate options with your physician that could potentially benefit you and your symptoms. Essential tremor treatment can be a complex process; investigating treatment options and working with your physician could take you on a path to tremor reduction. Contact our essential tremor educators through live chat to learn more about essential tremor and treatment options.

Treating Essential Tremor: Comparing the Benefits

Essential tremor is not only an inconvenience, but can be a significant hindrance to everyday life and activities. The good news is that although this common movement disorder is discouraging, it is treatable. There are several different essential tremor treatment options available that each have advantages and elements to consider depending on your unique situation and your desired outcomes. There are a few ways to analyze the separate types of treatment to determine which one is right for you.

Medications

Although there isn’t a medication designed to specifically treat essential tremor, there are several on the market that are intended to reduce symptoms. These medications are often anti-seizure medications or beta blockers.

Pros:

  • Medicines are easy to take orally and are readily available with a prescription.
  • Beta blockers are FDA approved to treat tremors.
  • Medications don’t require surgery.

Cons:

  • Strong side effects are possible.
  • Over time, people may develop a tolerance to beta blockers, making them completely ineffective.
  • Finding the best medication and dosage to alleviate symptoms may take time.

Deep Brain Stimulation

This method works by implanting electrodes in your brain within designated areas to regulate and control abnormal brain activity or the nerve signals that cause tremors.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t do any damage to existing tissue.
  • The DBS device can be removed or adjusted.

Cons

  • Requires surgery and recovery time.
  • Continued device adjustment and monitoring may be necessary.
  • There are potential complications after the procedure, ranging from headache to brain bleeding.

Gamma Knife

This procedure works by focusing many beams of radiation on one point within the body to treat essential tremor. This method targets the ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM), where overactive cells can cause tremors.

Pros:

  • The radiation doesn’t damage any untargeted tissues.
  • It is non-invasive and doesn’t require general anesthesia.
  • Can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
  • There is very little risk of complications compared to other surgeries.

Cons:

  • It takes 3-6 months for patients to notice any tremor relief.
  • Common radiation risks apply, and because the treatment involves lesioning a part of the brain, any adverse results experienced are non-reversible or adjustable.

Neuravive

This is a procedure designed to treat patients with essential tremor who have not responded to medications. Neuravive utilizes focused ultrasound beams to eliminate the cells inside of the brain associated with essential tremor. The ultrasound beams are focused on one point within the brain and are pulsed for about 15 seconds at a time. This treatment also targets the ventral intermedia nucleus (VIM), where overactive cells can cause tremors.

Pros:

  • Results are typically experienced immediately.
  • Non-surgical and requires little to no downtime.
  • Does not use any form of radiation.
  • Very low complication rates and is safe.
  • Typically performed as an outpatient procedure.

Cons:

  • Involves lesioning a part of the brain, so results experienced are non-reversible or adjustable.
  • Long-term studies are not yet available due to recent FDA approval.

As you can see, there are a variety of treatment options for essential tremor that are available. Use this information along with the guidance of your physician to make an informed decision about which option may be right for you. Each of these treatments aim to improve your function and quality of life. The Essential Tremor Education Center advises you to weigh your essential tremor treatment options and consider each method carefully with a physician. Contact our educators through live chat to learn more about essential tremor and treatment options.