Essential tremor

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25 Scopus citations


Essential tremor (ET) is among the most common neurological disorders. This chapter reviews the epidemiology, clinical features, and pathophysiology of ET. The defining feature is a kinetic tremor of the arms. Patients often have a postural tremor as well. Other body regions may also be involved (especially the head). The severity of tremor may range from mild cases in population settings to more severe cases in treatment settings. Motor features aside from tremor have been described in ET, including tandem gait difficulty. Mild cognitive changes (especially executive dysfunction) have been documented in many studies as well. Despite being regarded as one of the most common hyperkinetic movement disorders, establishing a precise prevalence has been difficult, yet the prevalence among persons aged 40 and older seems to be 4% or higher. There are numerous examples of families in which the disease appears to be inherited yet genetic studies have not progressed to the point where ET genes have been identified. There is also a growing understanding that environmental factors are likely to contribute to the etiology of ET. More recent postmortem studies have helped localize the possible source of ET to structural alterations in the cerebellum and its connecting pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-448
Number of pages16
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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