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Diseases & Conditions

How do I calm my shaking hands?

July 1, 2022

A new, incision-free brain procedure joins mainstay approaches to treat essential tremor.

photo of two hands holding pencils and drawing on the same piece of paper, hand on the left has drawn a smooth concentric line while the hand on the right has drawn shakily

We rely on steady hands when we sip our coffee, slide on lipstick, sign a check, or spoon up our morning oatmeal. For the estimated seven million adults in the United States with essential tremor, however, uncontrollable shaking transforms these everyday actions into sloppy, soul-sapping tasks.

But people with this condition can now find relief with an incision-free treatment called focused ultrasound, which uses sound waves to target an area in the brain’s thalamus, a key structure responsible for the quaking. Developed at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, this use of focused ultrasound is a potentially life-altering addition to established therapies for essential tremor.

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