Israeli hospital treats first Palestinian for unique brain condition

The procedure uses an MRI-guided ultrasound, developed by the Insightec company at the Technion.

February 26, 2017 17:13
1 minute read.
Human brain

An image of the human brain. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A 60-year-old Palestinian from Bethlehem who suffered from severe essential tremor (ET) has been discharged from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center after undergoing a highly unusual brain ablation rather than major brain surgery.

He is now able to return to work at his restaurant.

A few years ago, Rambam was the first hospital in Israel and one of the first in the world to perform the painless procedure; now the hospital has performed the procedure on a Palestinian for the first time. It involves using an MRI-guided ultrasound, developed by the Insightec company at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The technique was introduces in the US only last year, but dozens of the procedures have already been carried out at Rambam, which was a beta site for Insightec’s technology.

The technique, which uses heat ablation on deep-seated brain tissue through an intact skull, was made possible with Israeli technology originally developed to remove myomas, benign fibroid growths in the uterus, but was later applied abroad to ET, which manifests due to a malfunction in the brain. The therapy was made possible by the integration of MRI guidance and the heating of the tissue using focused ultrasound.

A Jerusalem hardware store owner named Sami Zangi was the first Israeli patient; for years before the procedure he had been unable to hold a cup of water without spilling it, tie his shoelaces or use the simplest tools.

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