Thanks for posting about this Kyloe, we’ve had quite a few enquiries about the recent ‘Trust me, I’m a doctor’ episode you mention.
The programme discussed the use of focused ultrasound as a ‘lesioning’ technique for Parkinson’s. Lesioning means damaging certain cells within specific areas of the brain and works in a very similar way to deep brain stimulation.
This new approach using ultrasound is non-invasive so people don’t have their skulls opened up. But as Kyloe and Kate say it is also permanent - it irreversibly damages the nerve cells in the brain.
In deep brain stimulation the electrodes that are implanted into the brain can be turned on and off (so it is reversible), and the frequency of the electrical stimulation can be adjusted to suit the individual.
At the moment, ultrasound therapy for Parkinson’s is being tested in clinical trials in the US and Switzerland. Until this approach is proven to be safe and effective for people with Parkinson’s it won’t be available in the UK.
In terms of research there is much more evidence available on the safe and effective use of deep brain stimulation for people with Parkinson's. You can read more about deep brain stimulation in our 'Surgery for Parkinson's' booklet available here - http://bit.ly/1bScZrs
With best wishes
The research team