Essential Tremor Cala Health
CEO & Co-Founder
Biodesign Innovation Fellow 2012-13
"I walked into the consultation room where a neurosurgeon was delivering a decision about surgical eligibility to a patient. On this day, it was unfortunate news -- Jim did not qualify for deep brain stimulation surgery. Jim had suffered from hand tremors for years. He had tried every known drug to treat tremors, including off-label seizure medications. Still, he was unable to use mobile phone buttons or write a simple note to his wife. He was embarrassed to meet with friends for coffee. He had stopped wearing shirts with buttons and eating soup and cereal. He even retired early from his career, hoping that reducing his stress would improve his symptoms. All of these life limitations led to a decision he couldn’t have imagined making: electing to have electrodes implanted in his brain at the Stanford Neurosurgery center in an effort to eliminate the tremors in one hand. Now, the surgeon was explaining that brain surgery would be too risky because of his pre-existing blood condition. Jim sobbed when he heard the news. He was inconsolable. After taking some time to collect his emotions, he said he would call his wife to tell her their retirement plan would have to be re-written. Observing these interactions, I was distraught. How could it be that no one could help Jim? More than eight million Americans like him are unable to control their hands sufficiently to perform the essential daily tasks that most of us take for granted. We understand the neural networks in the body. We understand how to deliver patterned electrical signals. Why do we require brain surgery to deliver this type of therapy?
I founded Cala Health in the fall of 2014 to address this important challenge."
“More than eight million Americans like him are unable to control their hands sufficiently to perform the essential daily tasks that most of us take for granted.”
Cala Health is a medical technology company pioneering a new class of electrical medicine to treat chronic disease non-invasively by stimulating peripheral nerves with body-worn electronics. Cala Health’s first therapy is focused on essential tremor, which affects more than eight million Americans but currently has limited treatment options.
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