Undergoing clinical trials around the world is a brain surgery that doesn’t need an incision or produce any blood yet drastically improves the lives of people with essential tremor, depression and more. The procedure, known as a focused ultrasound, aims sound waves at parts of the brain to disrupt faulty brain circuits causing symptoms.
“Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive therapeutic technology,” said Dr. Neal Kassell, founder and chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “We’ve said that focused ultrasound is the most powerful sound you will never hear, but sound that someday could save your life.”
Kassell describes the way it works as “analogous to using a magnifying glass to focus beams of light on a point and burn a hole in a leaf.”
“With focused ultrasound, instead of using an optical lens to focus beams of light,” he added, “an acoustic lens is used to focus multiple beams of ultrasound energy on targets deep in the body with a high degree of precision and accuracy, sparing the adjacent normal tissue.”
Kassell served on the board of Insightec — a leading maker of focused ultrasound machines — more than 10 years ago, according to an Insightec spokesperson. As a result, he holds .03% of the company’s private shares. Kassell told CNN the financial aspect doesn’t drive his interest in focused ultrasound procedures.
The procedure has been significantly beneficial for people with essential tremor, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. The disorder can affect alm