MRI machine [illustrative].
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A Parkinson’s disease patient wanted to take advantage of a new treatment for tremor offered only at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center.
But he had a problem. He suffers from claustrophobia, and lying in a noisy, dark “tunnel” while being scanned was too much even to contemplate.
The treatment, with a device by the Insightec company, uses a focused ultrasound beam to cauterize a piece of the brain responsible for the severe tremor that is caused by Parkinson’s disease. The beam is focused with exactitude of a hundredth of a millimeter deep into the brain, eliminating the need for incision.
Rambam said it is the first in Israel and only the second in the world to adopt the technology, and it has already carried out procedures on 50 patients, 95% of them with a successful result.
But the patient in question said he was unable to remain in the scanner even momentarily, and he would have to lie there for over an hour. He underwent special training at Rambam to hypnotize himself. The staff – who are used to seeing fearful patients give up before entering the MRI, were skeptical, but he in fact lay there without moving for the necessary amount of time.
When it was over, he got up, looked at his right hand that previously suffered from severe shaking, and saw it was steady. He was sent home with a smile on his face.