Indy man back to fishing thanks to successful procedure at IU Health

Rick Brandes has been dealing with shaky hands for three decades, which has greatly affected his confidence. This is a result of his essential tremors, a genetic disorder that causes uncontrollable shaking in specific muscle groups. Brandes has experienced the challenges this condition can bring, including embarrassing moments on dates and losing the ability to engage in activities he loves, like fishing.

Despite his struggles, Brandes sought help from his neurosurgeon at IU Health, who introduced him to the Focused Ultrasound procedure as a potential solution. Dr. Thomas Whitt, Brandes’ neurosurgeon, brought the Focused Ultrasound procedure to Indianapolis in August 2023 to assist patients with essential tremors. This non-invasive technique doesn’t require incisions or drilling in the head. By using a metal frame and ultrasound waves guided by the frame, doctors can target and destroy specific cells causing tremors, reducing the symptoms while minimizing side effects.

Brandes underwent the Focused Ultrasound procedure and experienced significant improvements in his condition. The procedure has been successful in alleviating his tremors, with minimal side effects such as numbness around the mouth. Brandes expressed how transformative the treatment has been for him, allowing him to pursue activities like fishing without the hindrance of tremors for the first time in years. With newfound confidence and stability in his hands, Brandes is excited about the prospect of fishing without tremors.

Owning a fishing boat for four years, he looks forward to relishing the experience of casting a line without the interference of shaky hands, allowing him to reconnect with his passion and enjoy moments of peace and joy on the water.

The impact of essential tremors on individuals goes beyond physical symptoms. Essential tremors can lead to social isolation and anxiety due to fear of spilling food or drinks in public situations.

Dr. Thomas Whitt explained how essential tremors can cause embarrassment and shame among those suffering from them.

“Essential tremors can have a profound impact on an individual’s quality of life,” said Dr. Whitt.

“It affects every aspect of their life – their ability to eat out with friends or family members,” added Brandes.

With newfound confidence and stability in his hands, Brandes is excited about exploring new adventures on land or sea without worrying about shaking hands anymore.

By Riley Johnson

As a content writer at, I dive into the depths of information to craft compelling stories that captivate and inform readers. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I strive to create engaging content that resonates with our audience. Whether it's breaking news, in-depth features, or thought-provoking opinion pieces, I am dedicated to delivering high-quality, informative content that keeps readers coming back for more. My goal is to bring a fresh perspective to every article I write and to make a meaningful impact through the power of words.

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