A non-invasive nerve stimulator reduces hand tremors by nearly 90 percent, new research suggests.
When worn twice a day for a month, at home, the device reduces tremor severity by 89.5 percent, a study found today.
After wearing the wrist device just once, 65 per cent of patients report tremor improvement, while 27 percent feel better able to carry out everyday activities, the research adds.
The device stimulates two key nerve networks in the wrist, which causes tremors to be disrupted. It is unclear when the treatment may available.
Essential tremor affects the hands, head and voice, as well as impacting sufferers’ abilities to eat or write. Around four in 100 people over 40 in the UK suffer.
It affects more than seven million people in the US.
A non-invasive nerve stimulator reduces hand tremors by nearly 90 percent (stock)
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL TREMORS?
An essential tremor is an uncontrollable shake in some part of the body, usually the hands.
The arms, head and lips may also be affected.
Around four in 100 people over 40 in the UK, and more than seven million in the US, suffer from essential tremors.
Slight tremors are normal, and may occur if someone is stressed, anxious or angry due to increased adrenaline.
Drinking caffeine and age also increase the risk.
People should see their GP if their tremor worsens over time or affects their daily activities.
Medication can help to reduce shaking.
If the tremor affects the voicebox or head, injections may be required to block the nerves and relax muscles.
In rare cases, brain surgery may treat severe tremors that are not helped by medication.
‘Produced significant improvements’
Results further suggest none of the participants experienced serious side effects, with just three per cent who wore the device just once experiencing mild skin irritation or redness, which resolved without treatment.
Study author Dr Rajesh Pahwa said: ‘The study conducted in the clinic showed that treatment stimulation was safe and produced significant improvements in both physician-rated and patient-rated measures of tremor severity compared to sham stimulation.
‘Our research suggests that this non-invasive therapy may offer meaningful relief from the symptoms of hand tremor for people with essential tremor.’
The researchers add further studies are required that test the device in larger groups of patients over longer periods of time.
How the research was carried out
The researchers assessed an in-clinic study with 77 participants, as well as an at-home experiment with 61 patients.
All of the participants suffered from essential tremor.
For the in-clinic study, the participants underwent one session with either the treatment stimulation or a placebo that created the same sensation. This was applied to their more severe wrist.
The at-home study’s method was similar, however, those who received the treatment had a minimum of two sessions a day for up to one month.
In both trials, hand-tremor severity was assessed before and after the investigations by doctors.
The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in LA.