A computerized tablet system for evaluating treatment of essential tremor by magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound
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CitationTam Fred. Huang Yuexi. Schwartz Michael L. Schweizer Tom A. Hynynen Kullervo. Graham Simon J. (2017). A computerized tablet system for evaluating treatment of essential tremor by magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound. BMC NEUROLOGY [ONLINE: HTTP://WWW.BIOMEDCENTRAL.COM/BMCNEUROL/], 17, 74. 10.1186/s12883-017-0856-8.
Transcranial magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound is an emerging technology under evaluation for treatment of essential tremor, a prevalent movement disorder. A qualitative evaluation is performed by a clinician periodically during the procedure to maximize treatment effects and minimize adverse effects. The present work demonstrates a magnetic resonance-compatible method to enable more precise, quantitative measurement of tremor severity.
Tremor severity was measured in 12 patients pre-, post-, and intra-operatively, using a magnetic resonance-compatible tablet and a computerized adaptation of drawing tasks from the widely-used Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale. Tremor metrics based on spectral analysis were calculated for each drawing and compared using Wilcoxon signed rank tests.
Tremor metrics in the dominant (treated) hand were significantly and consistently lower post-operatively compared to pre-operatively, but there was no significant difference in the non-dominant (untreated) hand, as expected. Intra-operative metrics were intermediate between pre- and post-operative metrics.
Use of the tablet for quantitative tremor measurement was demonstrated pre-, post-, and intra-operatively during treatment of essential tremor, complementing standard qualitative assessment. With additional work, the system has potential to add objectivity to clinical trials and to aid treatment decision-making by providing a metric for optimization during the procedure, which may eventually lead to more optimal treatment. Enhancements and further studies are suggested, and extensions to fMRI studies of essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease are also likely.