Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder, but many patients - even those with severe symptoms - choose to just live with it rather than undergo invasive treatments. But there soon may be a less extreme solution, one that could help other diseases as well.
Bob Delf inherited his piano and something else you won't notice as he plays: essential tremor
He's not sure why that is, but once the music stops, "there's things I can't do. You can't take a photo with a camera. My hands shake too much," he says.
For now, he just lives with it and doesn't use medication.
"I don't even take aspirin," he said.
For patients whose symptoms become severe, there are invasive procedures like Gamma Knife which delivers radiation to the affected part of the brain, and Deep Brain Stimulation, which involves surgically implanting electrodes and then sending pulses of electricity to calm the overactive brain cells.
Video shows the dramatic before and after results from some of the treatments, but Delf isn't convinced.
"Deep brain Stimulation and Gamma Knife, I did look at those. Both a little too scary for me, at least at this point," said Delf.
But now Swedish Neuroscience Institute is testing a new non-invasive treatment using MRI and Focused Ultrasound.
"This little part right there is where we treat with the focused ultrasound," said Dr. Ryder Gwinn with the Swedish Neuroscience Institute.
Dr. Gwinn says the goal is to bombard the diseased section of the brain with high intensity ultrasound from multiple angles. The patient won't feel a thing
"I personally think this is a very interesting treatment. I think it is groundbreaking in many ways," said Dr. Gwinn.
Delf is paying close attention to this study and others. His future health depends on it.
"The other thing and there is research to support this, if you have a glass of wine, it does calm the tremor down," said Delf.
As a winemaker, he's in the right business.
Essential Tremor and Familial Tremor are basically the same disorder. The only difference is that it's called familial when it's inherited.
In addition to essential tremor, the Swedish Neuroscience Institute is also conducting two other clinical trials using focused ultrasound, one for Parkinson's, the other for brain tumors.