Aarhus University Hospital receives generous donation for new treatment of patients with essential tremor
- Before this treatment my hands were shaking uncontrollably. I dreaded being in social contexts where I had to eat with my fingers or use a straw to drink. I was not able to write either. After the treatment, which I received in Madrid in 2020, one of my arms is well-functioning. It is fantastic and it has given me so much quality of life in my everyday life. I am very happy that this new treatment for tremor will now be offered at AUH, and I hope that many more patients will benefit from the treatment as I did, says 83-year-old Lis, who lives in the eastern part of Jutland. Photo: Tonny Foghmar.
The Danish Bundgaard Foundation has made a generous donation of DKK 9 million to Aarhus University Hospital (AUH), which will make AUH the first public hospital in Scandinavia and the Nordic countries to offer new ground-breaking treatment of patients with essential tremor.
Up to 10% of all Danes above 65 years suffer from essential tremor. For some, the condition is seriously affecting their daily living and quality of life - and the condition cannot be treated with medicine or other interventions.
A new ground-breaking and minimal invasive treatment called MRgFUS (MR guided focused ultrasound) can relieve or cure the tremor of these patients.
A DKK 9 million donation from the Bundgaard Foundation has made it possible for AUH to offer this treatment as the first public hospital in Denmark and the first in Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries.
- This new treatment is a giant leap in our efforts to improve the quality of life of the most severely affected patients with essential tremor. At AUH, we have more than 25 years of experience with surgical treatment of essential tremor with deep brain stimulation. This new treatment with focused ultrasound treatment will be an important supplement and make it possible for us to treat even more patients, says Claus Thomsen, Chief Medical Officer at AUH.
- At AUH we are truly grateful for the Bundgaard Foundation donation of DKK 9 million to buy new equipment. From this summer, it will be possible for AUH to offer this new treatment for essential tremor and ensure equal access to highly specialized treatment. This would not have been possible without this donation. This new highly specialized function at AUH emphasizes AUH’s position as a hospital covering all specialities at the highest international level, says Claus Thomsen.
From the left: Jens Seehusen, CEO of HMF Group, Jens Jørgen Madsen, Chairman of the Bundgaard Foundation, Susanne Thorndahl, Chairman of the Patient Association for Essential Tremor, Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, Professor and brain surgeon, Claus Thomsen, Chief Medical Officer, AUH, and Andreas Nørgaard Glud, MD and PhD, Associate Professor, Project manager and responsible for implementing the new treatment for tremor at AUH; the first public hospital in Scandinavia to offer this treatment (photo: Tonny Foghmar).
Foundation wishes to contribute to develop the healthcare system
The donation to AUH makes it possible to offer this new treatment is in line with the purpose of the Bundgaard Foundations, says chairman of the foundation Jens Jørgen Madsen.
- As the owner of HMF Group, one of the world’s leading producers of loader cranes, the primary purpose of the Bundgaard Foundation is to maintain and develop the company as an attractive workplace, says Jens Jørgen Madsen and continues,
- another important purpose of the Bundgaard Foundation is to contribute to improve treatment of patients in Aarhus Municipality. When AUH introduced us to this possibility to make a DKK 9 million donation, which would significantly improve the quality of life for patients with tremor, we had no doubts, says Jens Jørgen Madsen.
The future treatment offer at AUH
Focused ultrasound treatment uses ultrasound to treat the part of the brain causing the tremor. The patient is positioned awake in an MR scanner during a reversible test and later an irreversible treatment. The majority of patients will experience that the severe tremor stops already at the end of the treatment.
Thousands of patients have been successfully been treated abroad with focused ultrasound. A handful of Danish patients have already received treatment abroad in collaboration with the Danish team and the results have been very positive.
Patient association welcomes the new treatment at AUH
The Patient Association for Essential Tremor is delighted, according to chairman Susanne Thorndahl,
- we are extremely happy that it will be possible for even more patients in Denmark to be treated with focused ultrasound. This is an important step for our association and for our many members. We hope the treatment will be accessible for all relevant patients in Denmark, says Susanne Thorndahl.
AUH is the only public hospital in Denmark offering the treatment
The Danish Health Authority has assigned this highly specialized function to AUH as the only hospital in Denmark.
The new treatment at AUH is a collaboration between four departments: Department of Neurosurgery, Department of Neurology, Department of Radiology, and Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care.
Selection of relevant patients will be made in close collaboration with other departments in Denmark and based on referrals from specialists in neurology.
It is expected to treat 30-70 patients annually with focused ultrasound treatment at AUH. The plan is to treat the first patient this summer.
Breeding ground for new research and new treatments
In the future, the doctors at Department of Neurosurgery in collaboration with other leading centres hope to expand the treatment to comprise other movement disorders such as tremor dominant Parkinson’s Disease. Patients with Parkinson’s Disease are already treated with deep brain stimulation at AUH.
Worldwide, researchers investigate the possibility to apply the technology in other diseases of the brain including epilepsy and depression. Moreover, the new treatment has potential to be used as a high-precision method to treat brain cancer with gene therapy and chemotherapy.
About the donation
Jens Jørgen Madsen, Chairman of the Bundgaard Foundation, Tel.: +45 2178 1844.
About the future treatment at AUH
Andreas Nørgaard Glud, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Project manager for the implementation of the new treatment for patients with essential tremor (MRgFUS) at AUH, Tel.: +45 2388 2213.