EvergreenHealth is currently recruiting participants for a research study on an innovative, non-invasive treatment for Essential Tremor (ET) beginning in January. This will be the second study conducted by EvergreenHealth within the last year for patients with ET.
The trial, sponsored by medical technology company Cala Health, is designed to relieve hand tremors using noninvasive electrical stimulation for patients living with the effects of ET. EvergreenHealth neurologist Dr. Pinky Agarwal is an investigator in the trial.
Essential Tremor is a movement disorder that affects more than 7 million Americans and is most often marked by hand tremors that intensify when patients perform intentional tasks, like eating, drinking, making phone calls or writing.
The study will explore the effectiveness of a new device called Cala TWO. With an appearance similar to a smartwatch or fitness tracker, Cala TWO is worn on the participant’s wrist for 40 minutes, twice a day, to deliver patterned electrical stimulation to nerves through the skin.
EvergreenHealth was one of four centers that tested the original Cala device, which the FDA subsequently approved. Researchers have already completed two controlled studies that showed marked improvement in patients who used the device. The new trial underway at EvergreenHealth involves a second generation of the same approved device.
“Leading important clinical research like the Cala device study is integral to advancing the health and well-being of our community,” said Pinky Agarwal, MD, FAAN. “We are grateful for our patient participants, who help us be on forefront of investigating new treatments, ultimately helping patients achieve better health outcomes.”
According to local artist, Whitney Buckingham-Beechie, she has already seen results from her experience using the Cala device. After living with tremors for decades, the Edmonds, Washington, resident learned to adjust her artistic style to incorporate the effects of her unsteady hands. However, after her mother was diagnosed with a movement disorder, Buckingham-Beechie felt compelled to address her own health and sought answers from Dr. Agarwal, who diagnosed her with Essential Tremor.
“To hear that there was actually a name for what I had been experiencing most of my life was a huge relief. When Dr. Agarwal told me about the research opportunity, I jumped at the chance to participate,” Buckingham-Beechie recalled. “I believe in doing the right thing for the right reasons, and I decided that even if this trial wasn’t a success for me, the research findings could potentially help someone else. I was lucky that this technology worked for me—my tremor virtually disappeared when I was using the device.”
Now, Buckingham-Beechie is excited to pursue other techniques that require precise, steady movements with sculpture and detailed paintings. She will be participating in the next phase of the clinical trial and encourages those living with ET to consider joining the study.
Leading clinical research trials is one of many ways EvergreenHealth fulfills its commitment to meeting the growing needs of its community. As part of its 10-year Master Facilities plan, the health system is keeping pace with the community’s growth by upgrading its facilities and infrastructure to ensure its ability to provide care in the safest environment. To learn more, visit www.evergreenhealth.com/future.