A sound you can't hear but may one day change your life

Undergoing clinical trials around the world is a brain surgery that doesn’t need an incision or produce any blood yet drastically improves the lives of people with essential

tremor, depression and more. The procedure, known as a focused ultrasound, aims sound waves at parts of the brain to disrupt faulty brain circuits causing symptoms.

“Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive therapeutic technology,” said Dr. Neal Kassell, founder and chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “We’ve said that focused

ultrasound is the most powerful sound you will never hear, but sound that someday could save your life.” Kassell describes the way it works as “analogous to using a

magnifying glass to focus beams of light on a point and burn a hole in a leaf.” “With focused ultrasound, instead of using an optical lens to focus beams of light,” he

added, “an acoustic lens is used to focus multiple beams of ultrasound energy on targets deep in the body with a high degree of precision and accuracy, sparing the adjacent normal

tissue.” The procedure has been significantly beneficial for people with essential tremor, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. The

disorder can affect almost any body part, but the tremors typically occur in hands — even during simple tasks such as eating, drinking or writing. Essential tremor is

usually more prominent on one side of the body and can worsen with movement. It’s most common in people 40 and older, and it affects nearly 25 million worldwide, according to a

2021 study.