Living in Carmel, golf was a passion for Joe Cusenza once he was actually able to tee off. “Because literally I could not hold the ball steady enough to keep it on the tee,” explains Cusenza.
Joe suffered from a condition called essential tremor, which effects an estimated 10-million Americans. His right hand shook so badly, he could barely write a legible sentence. Stanford neurologist Veronica Santini, M.D.,M.A., says the normal treatments range from drugs, which can lose effectiveness over time, all the way up to major surgery.
“For instance the other therapies we have require a big brain operation, where we open the skull and we enter the brain tissue,” says Dr. Santini.
Instead the Stanford team turned to a newly approved procedure. It combines the imaging power of MRI with heat generated by a special ultrasound. With a halo-like device attached to his skull, Joe is placed in the MRI. Over the course of the treatment, doctors beam sound waves into a precise area inside Joe’s brain. That resulting heat destroys the nerve cells causing the tremors.
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