HOUSTON — People who live with tremors know it can impact every part of your life.
Essential tremor is a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary shaking.
It can be hard to write legibly, and even eat or drink without spilling.
For Vickie Nolan, the tremors have become impossible to hide.
“When people are introduced to me at work, the first thing I tell them is I have essential tremors. That’s why I shake. I tell them upfront, so there’s no question about it, so they don’t think 'she’s nervous,'” Nolan said.
However, a new device is giving people their independence back.
The Cala Trio looks just like a smartwatch. The device stimulates nerves in the wrist, which connect to the brain.
It can reduce tremors for up to two hours after a patient wears it.
“Patients wear this device for about 40 minutes, twice a day. Maybe more, four or five times a day,” said Dr. Olga Waln, a neurologist at Houston Methodist.
Methodist Hospital was one of 26 research centers in the country that recently tested the Cala Trio.
Thirty patients participated in the study in Houston.
Of the 263 patients who participated in the study nationwide, 68% showed significant improvement.
The alternative for people with tremors is medication or surgery.
After wearing the device for less than an hour, Nolan took a sip of water without a fear of spilling. She also confidently wrote a sentence in cursive.
“These little things that other people take for granted in their everyday life that people with tremors can’t do – putting on makeup and doing that straight line,” said Nolan. “It was freedom for a while. It was freedom.”