Research Grant - 2022

Research Category: Movement Disorders incl. Parkinson’s & related diseases, Dystonia, Hunting

Dr Joel Maamary was the recipient of Brain Foundation grant funding in 2022

Movement Disorders incl. Parkinson’s & related diseases, Dystonia, Hunting

Movement Disorders incl. Parkinson’s & related diseases, Dystonia, Hunting
MRI guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) for focal hand dystonia
Dr Joel Maamary
St Vincents Public Hospital
Co-Investigators : A/Prof Stephen Tisch, Dr Yael Barnett

Watch Dr Joel Maamary accept the research grant award and hear a bit about the project.

Project Summary:

Dystonias are a group of movement disorders that are characterised by sustained or intermittent muscle contractions that result in abnormal movements, postures or both. Focal dystonias are a subgroup of dystonia where the abnormal movements are isolated to a single body part. In the upper limb, these are referred to as focal hand dystonia and are commonly task-specific, triggered by a particular motor task. The most well-known forms of focal hand dystonia are ‘writers cramp’ and ‘musicians dystonia.’ Individuals with focal dystonia are often disabled and unable to perform these tasks with subsequent implications on their profession or livelihood. 

Current treatment options are limited to short term symptom relief with low efficacy oral medications or local treatment with botulinum toxin. Physical therapies and rehabilitation have been reported to provide some improvement, but this evidence is not definitive. Our trial aims to assess the safety and efficacy of MRI guided focused ultrasound, a new minimally invasive neurosurgical treatment method, in individuals with focal hand dystonia. This treatment utilises high frequency ultrasound beams to interrupt the pathways involved in generating the dystonia without requiring a surgical incision or open neurosurgery. Further, we aim to better define the abnormal neural pathways and brain changes associated with this condition as well as outline the effect of this minimally invasive treatment on upper limb strength, coordination and function.

Click here to read Progress Report (December 2023)

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