Dec 19, 2012 10:59 AM by Marissa Torres
Severe tremors can be debilitating, but now scientists in Canada have pioneered a new way to help patients who can barely hold a glass.
Taking a drink of water is an act of torture for Tony Lightfoot. He suffers from essential tremors, so severe he can barely button his shirt.
"That is pretty much what the tremors are all about, and sometimes they get uncontrollable."
Medications haven't helped him much; that's why he decided to undergo an experimental treatment that will free him the shaking in his right hand - his dominant hand - with a technique some doctors say may revolutionize medicine.
It's called Focused Ultrasound.
The same tool we use for taking baby pictures has been harnessed to deliver over 1,000 beams into one tiny target deep inside Tony's brain. And with this focused ultrasound, doctors deliver heat through the skull -killing the cells that cause the shaking.
"Here's a chance to do something without making a hole in the patient - so there is no risk of infection or hemorrhage," says Dr. Michael Schwartz with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Canada.
As his procedure begins, Tony's tremors are still very evident. But after repeated bursts of ultrasound waves, noticeable changes are immediate.
In recovery, Tony Lightfoot can do something once impossible- he can take a drink of water.