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Parkinsonís disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects movement. Early symptoms include involuntary shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty walking. It has no cure. Symptoms can be managed with medications, which lose their effectiveness over time, or invasive brain surgeries.

Dr. Michael Schwartz, a neurosurgeon at Sunnybrook, is leading two clinical trials on the use of MRI-guided focused ultrasound for Parkinson’s disease. The first is for patients experiencing involuntary muscle movements as a result of taking the drug levodopa, a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. For more information, visit the clinicaltrials.gov website: NCT02347254. The second trial includes patients with different types of movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s, Huntington and Wilson diseases, for whom standard treatments did not work. For more information, visit the clinicaltrials.gov website: NCT02252380.

In both trials, high-intensity ultrasound beams are targeted to the specific region in the brain where the involuntary movements originate. The energy in these sound waves generates heat to destroy the lesions responsible for the disorder. These studies will assess the safety and effectiveness of this noninvasive approach in reducing tremors and other involuntary movements. If you are interested in participating in either of these two trials, then please contact Nadia Scantlebury at 416-480-6100, ext. 4738.