Dr. Jeffrey Elias named Innovator of the Year for pioneering focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor: 5 insights


Neurosurgeon Jeffrey Elias, MD, at University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, pioneered the use of focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor. The University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group named Dr. Elias the 2018 Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year, according to UVA Today.

Here are five things to know.


1. The Innovator of the Year is awarded to UVA faculty members whose research makes a major societal impact. Dr. Elias is a UVA professor of neurosurgery.


2. In five years, Dr. Elias propelled the technology from clinical trials to FDA approval. Focused ultrasound eliminates the need for incision in the treatment of essential tremor.


3. UVA started using focused ultrasound technology in 2009 for the treatment of brain tumors, and Dr. Elias pursued its application to essential tremor, which affects an estimated 10 million Americans.


4. Focused ultrasound technology focuses sound waves within the brain to create heat, interrupting malfunctioning circuits that cause the tremor symptoms. Practitioners can monitor the procedure in real time using MRI and adjust treatment based on the patient's response.


5. Dr. Elias told UVA Today "the fact that we could do these precise treatments without any kind of incision, implanting any kind of device, or having any kind of real surgery, was very appealing to patients," Dr. Elias told UVA Today.


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