MANHASSET, N.Y. (PIX11) – Murray Bocian has suffered from essential tremor for over 30 years. The neurological disorder causes shaky hands, and while it can be embarrassing for many, the 76-year-old and his family have accepted it with their sense of humor.
“I want to thank my mother for giving them to me,” Murray said.
While not dangerous, essential tremors can disrupt everyday life. Murray needed his wife Beth’s help with almost everything, from buttoning shirts to putting on shoes.
“She said I didn’t drive well, but I told her I didn’t drive well before either,” he joked.
Beth said her husband’s tremors were so severe that they couldn’t hold hands anymore because her whole body would shake.
Married for almost 55 years, the couple can now enjoy holding hands again thanks to a relatively new brain procedure that doesn’t require surgery.
Beth, a retired Northwell nurse, discovered the procedure after researching on the internet and saw that it’s offered at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island.
HiFU, or high-intensity focused ultrasound, creates a lesion in the brain with ultrasound beams.
Dr. Albert Fenoy, the director of functional neurosurgery at NSUH, led the procedure.
“When you create the lesion, the tremor immediately improves,” Dr. Fenoy said. “By interrupting those fibers and preventing that information from being transmitted, we can stop that tremor.”
On May 11, Murray became the second person on Long Island to receive the incisionless procedure. Murray was placed inside an MRI scanner while fully awake, with his head positioned in a frame to prevent movement. In less than two hours, the procedure is done.
A lesion was created in his brain’s left side, which instantly improved his right hand.
Right before the treatment, he could not draw a spiral or straight line, but he passed the same writing test immediately after.
Fishing trips with his son Daniel are now possible.
“He reached a point where he could not hold a fishing rod anymore, and he couldn’t even bait a hook,” Daniel said.
“I’m also looking forward to saving a lot of money on laundry detergent because he doesn’t spill anything on his clothes anymore,” Beth added.
The FDA has approved unilateral procedures, so only one side of the brain can be done at a time. Murray will return to the hospital in 9 months to complete the treatment on the other side of his brain, and he looks forward to that day.