Neuromodulation Therapy Shows Promise for Improving Tremors

April 19, 2018
Heidi Anne Duerr, MPH

Noninvasive neuromodulation therapy shows promise in treating hand tremors associated with essential tremor.

Noninvasive neuromodulation therapy shows promise in treating hand tremors associated with essential tremor, according to new research being presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting.

Rajesh Pahwa, MD, Professor and chief of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, and colleagues conducted two randomized trials looking at a wrist-worn neuromodulation device designed to stimulate the wrist’s median and radial nerves and deliver a stimulation pattern that is tuned to interrupt the patient’s tremor. In the short-term study, 77 patients with essential tremor were randomized to either peripheral nerve treatment or sham stimulation of the tremor dominant hand in the clinic setting. Tremors were assessed by physicians both before and after treatment.

The at-home study followed patients (N=61) with essential tremor for up to one month. These patients were randomized to receive treatment, sham, or standard-of care, with a minimum of two treatments per day for the duration of the study. The wrist-worn neuromodulation device measured the tremor severity both before and after treatment.

The acute study found a 65% percent improvement using the physician-rated Tremor Research Group Essential Tremor Rating Assessment Scale (TETRAS) dominant upper limb scores. Similarly, the researchers noted a 27% improvement in self-measured activities of daily living. Patients in the sham group reported a 32% and 16% improvement for the TETRAS and self-measured activities of daily living, respectively. No serious side effects were reported; 3% reported mild side effects including skin redness and irritation, both of which went away without treatment.

The long-term study also found improvements using the neuromodulation device.

In a statement to the press, Pahwa noted, “Our research suggests that this non-invasive therapy may offer meaningful relief from the symptoms of hand tremor for people with essential tremor.” Pahwa will present the findings on Wednesday, April 25, at the AAN meeting in Los Angeles.

            

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