British company GyroGear has completed its development of an innovative glove that reduces and even eliminates tremors in the hands of Parkinson’s patients.
Parkinson’s disease and other disorders that cause tremors significantly impair life quality affects about 200 million people worldwide.
A tremor in the hands is a neurological disorder caused by a lack of dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain. This is caused by degeneration of an area in the brain called the “black brain”.
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The disease is characterized by muscle stiffness, tremor, slow movements, and difficulties in balance and posture. Other symptoms include depression and impaired sexual function.
In severe cases, it does not allow for daily tasks such as eating, drinking, writing, using a computer, holding a cell phone, or shaking hands.
The innovative glove is attached to a gyroscopic device that operates through rotational movements, which resist the direction of the hand’s tremor movements. This gyroscope action causes local nerve stimulation that activates the contracting muscles’ counter-action to neutralize the tremor.
The new development does not cure the tremors, but reduces them significantly and can sometimes even eliminates them. One of the patients, 57-year-old Jenny Field from the UK, said: “Tremor is a hidden disability. The muscles ache, the blows you get with every movement of the hand, and the difficulty of performing basic actions. Once I put on the glove, the muscles relaxed. I can enjoy the hobbies “Work efficiently, type in front of the computer.”
The company has not yet announced the date of launching the device or its price.
The disease progresses in five stages, the first of which is a subtle change in the structure of the voice that is usually not discernible on a daily basis. Prominent symptoms of the disease tend to appear when the condition is already in an advanced process, so the diagnosis is also made when about 60% of the nerve cells in the area of the brain that controls the motor activities are already destroyed. Therefore, the capacity for treatment and rehabilitation is low.
Treatment of the disease includes, among other things, a drug that balances the level of dopamine in the brain, physiotherapy and in severe cases surgery or treatments with electrical stimulation to the brain.
In recent years, an innovative therapy for hand tremors has been developed, using a focused ultrasound beam controlled by an MRI.
The treatment was developed by the Israeli company “Insightec”. The technology turns ultrasound radiation into an effective and accurate tool that replaces the surgical knife, and allows the surgeon to enter the patient’s brain without anesthesia, incisions or sawing the skull.
It was first performed in Israel at Rambam Medical Center about three years ago by the Department of Neurosurgery head Prof. Menashe Zarur, the Parkinson’s Unit head Dr. Ilana Schlesinger, and the Department of Neurology, and the Neuro-Radiology Unit head Prof. Dorit Goldscher.
Since then more than 50 successful treatments have been performed using this technology.
Brain surgeons have known for years that diseases such as Parkinson’s, primary tremor and neuropathic pain can be treated by burning or amputating tiny areas of the brain that the disease causes them to be overactive.
The treatment is performed as follows: The patient lies motionless inside the MRI, while the surgeon-surgeon sits a few meters away, beyond a glass window, and activates with a computer mouse the helmet that launches ultrasound waves into the brain, after detecting by MRI the exact point to pass.
All the while the patient is in a state of full wakefulness, and is asked every few minutes how he feels, to find out if there is a benefit in the tremor and to make sure he is not suffering from side effects.
The surgeon increases the intensity of the rays (heating) each time, and in the breaks between operations, neurologists approach the patient’s bed to check the quality of the improvement in the disease. Already after ten minutes of treatment it can be seen that a patient who was unable to draw a straight line without tremors – manages to control the pencil movements. After several series of ultrasound waves the treatment ends and the patient’s hand now remains stable and without tremor.
One of the first patients treated with the new technology was Chaya Mandelbaum, who suffered severe and uncontrollable tremor in her right hand due to a brain injury. For ten years, Mandelbaum, a confectioner from the Krayot, could not engage in baking. The tremor intensified in her right hand and prevented her from doing what she loved.
After countless consultations and treatments, she came to Rambam nine months ago to undergo a unique treatment for the problem: brain surgery without a scalpel and without opening a skull, but using a focused ultrasound, under the direction of MRI. , When her hand is no longer shaking.