Grandma Lynette Hoffman-Elharar remembers a time when she could not hold a glass of water or draw a straight line. Now, after undergoing a noninvasive procedure at Rambam Health Care Campus (Rambam) in Haifa, Israel, she is knitting woolen beanies for IDF soldiers.
Lynette Hoffman-Elharar, a resident of Lehavim, an assisted living facility in Southern Israel, is knitting with her friends for an important cause. They have knitted and delivered more than 200 woolen beanies to IDF soldiers. Thanks to a non-invasive surgical procedure, known as magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound (MRIgFUS), Lynette’s tremor has ceased and her lifestyle is improved.
First performed in Israel at Rambam, MRIgFUS is a procedure for treating Essential and Parkinsonian tremors. Surgeons use highly accurate MRI to direct high-intensity ultrasound waves to the specific site in the brain where the tremor is initiated. The ultrasound rays pass through the skull without affecting any of the surrounding tissue and pinpoint a particular area of the brain for ablation. The abnormal flow of electrical signals is interrupted and tremors cease. A relatively short procedure performed under local anesthetic, discomfort is minimal, improvement is observed within a couple of hours, and the tremor disappears. The procedure was added to the Israeli health basket in 2018.
Lynette’s situation was a bit unusual. She suffered from Essential tremor (the result of a genetic disease) in her right hand, and Parkinsonian tremor in her left. About five years ago, the tremors progressively worsened, preventing her from performing activities requiring a steady hand. “I went from doctor to doctor trying to find a solution,” she recalls. “Finally, I was referred to the Institute for Movement Disorders and Parkinson’s at Rambam. They offered FUS treatment for my tremor.”
Lynette was an ideal candidate. Following the success of the procedure, Lynette was performing motor activities with her right hand that were previously not possible. However, the tremor in her left hand remained. At the time, safety concerns prevented performing MRIgFUS to treat both hands.
Rambam continued performing the procedure with outstanding patient outcomes, making the hospital a world leader in the field. Hence, around two years ago, as research in the field progressed, Rambam began to explore bilateral use of MRIgFUS.
The success of her previous procedure and the ongoing Parkinson’s tremor in her right hand prompted Lynette to ask Rambam physicians to perform a second procedure in her right hand. Fourteen months ago, Lynette returned to Rambam. The second procedure was successful and she now has two steady hands.
Lynette is delighted with the results; she is making up for lost time and enjoying things she hadn’t enjoyed for years – like knitting. Together with her friends at Lehavim, they knit beanies for IDF soldiers and reservists in the field. “When I knit, it seems like I never had a problem,” she laughs, “If I hadn’t undergone these procedures at Rambam, I wouldn’t be able to do this. I can do anything I want with my hands.”
When the idea of knitting beanies for the IDF soldiers recently came up, Lynette immediately volunteered. “I have knitted six beanies; altogether, my friends at the retirement home have knitted around 200 and are working on more. We are also making knitted toys for the children of the Gaza Envelope. Everything we make is made with love.”
Lynette’s son, Ohad, has been in the reserves of the Home Front Command’s Search and Rescue Unit since October 7, and recalls, “Every soldier receives a beanie in a package inscribed with a note ‘From the Lehavim assisted living facility, we know this needed doing, and we thought of you while we knitted the cap.’”
Watch Lynette's amazing progress on YouTube
In the Featured Picture
Background: Beanies and toys made with love by some of the Lehavim residents. Photo Credit: Rambam HCC video screenshot. Bottom Left: Lynette's son, Ohad, with a beanie gift package. Photo courtesy of the Hoffman Elharar family. Top Right) Lynette enjoys knitting again after her second MRIgFUS procedure at Rambam. Photo Credit: Rambam HCC, video screenshot.
Based on a Hebrew article that first appeared on the Walla news and lifestyle website