Progress and Prospects in Parkinson's Research/Atypical Parkinsonism/Essential-Tremor

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Essential Tremor (ET) is a movement disorder which is sometimes diagnostically confused with the resting tremor which is a signature symptom of PD.

Background[edit | edit source]

This tremor affects the upper limbs initially and can spread to other parts of the body. It occurs when there is ongoing muscular activity unlike the PD tremor, which occurs at rest. It can be brought on or intensified by psychological stress. The frequency is from 4 to 12 Hz.

Research[edit | edit source]


Louis [1] evaluated the epidemiology of ET.

The development of PD has often been described in ET patients. In recent studies, ET patients were 2–4 times more likely to develop PD (that is, ET plus PD) when compared to persons without ET. ET-like action tremor is more common in PD families than control families , further supporting the links between ET and PD, and postmortem studies have now shown that a subset of ET patients has brainstem (mainly in the locus ceruleus) Lewy bodies.


Schwingenschuh et al [2] carried ut a detailed study of a oohort of patients designated as SWEDDs (Scans Without Evidence of Dopaminergic Deficit).

We used transcranial magnetic stimulation with a facilitatory paired associative stimulation (PAS) paradigm to test if sensorimotor plasticity in SWEDDs resembled the pattern seen in PD, dystonia or ET.....

...A combination of re-emergent tremor and highest tremor amplitude in the resting condition was characteristic of PD tremor, while SWEDDs, dystonia and ET subjects had the highest tremor amplitude during action. Both SWEDDs and segmental dystonia patients exhibited an exaggerated pattern of sensorimotor plasticity in response to the PAS paradigm, with spread of excitation to an adjacent hand muscle. In contrast, PD patients showed no response to PAS, and the response of ET patients was no different from controls. Taken together, these results may help differentiate these SWEDDs patients from PD and support our hypothesis that adult-onset dystonia is the underlying diagnosis in this sub-group of patients with SWEDDs.

Further Reading[edit | edit source]


Use the following links to query the PubMed, PubMed Central and Google Scholar databases using the Search terms:- Essential_tremor diagnosis.

This will list the latest papers on this topic. You are invited to update this page to reflect such recent results, pointing out their significance.

Pubmed (abstracts)

Pubmed_Central (Full_Text)


Related Pages[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Louis, Elan D. (2008) (2008) Full Text Neuroepidemiology. 31(3): 139–149. Environmental Epidemiology of Essential Tremor.
  2. Schwingenschuh, Petra; Ruge, Diane; Edwards, Mark J; Terranova, Carmen; Katschnig, Petra Carrillo, Fatima; Silveira-Moriyama, Laura; Schneider, Susanne A.; Kägi, Georg; Dickson, John; Lees, Andrew J.; Quinn, Niall; Pablo Mir, Pablo; John C Rothwell, John C, and Bhatia, Kailah P. <font color="maroon"(2010) Full Text Mov Disord. ; 25(5): 560–569 Adult onset asymmetric upper limb tremor misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease: A clinical and electrophysiological study