Brain Sunnybrook Magazine - Spring 2018

Novel procedure helps patient overcome severe shaking disorder, regaining ability to sketch

Dr. Michael Schwartz: A neurosurgeon and a gentleman, drawn by Noreen Smith.

Dr. Michael Schwartz: A neurosurgeon and a gentleman, drawn by Noreen Smith.

By 2016, Noreen Smith couldn’t even drink from a glass of water. Her diagnosis of essential tremor disorder, which causes severe shaking during routine tasks, had, over time, robbed her of the ability to perform everyday activities and joyful pursuits such as creating quick sketch portraits.

Later that year, Noreen came to Sunnybrook to undergo a revolutionary surgical procedure for her condition. Performed by a specialized team led by neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Schwartz, the MRI-guided focused technique used ultrasound waves to heat and treat specific areas in her brain causing the tremors. All of it was done through a specialized helmet, making the surgery incision-free.

For Noreen – and other patients who have undergone this procedure to test its use for a growing number of conditions – the surgery has allowed her to embrace parts of her life that she feared would be forever lost. “This is the first portrait I have attempted in nearly 30 years,” she says of her recent sketch (shown above). “I am very grateful for the treatment I received at Sunnybrook and now feel encouraged to pursue more artistic endeavours.”

About the author

Monica Matys

Monica Matys

Monica Matys is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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