'Essential tremor' or 'the essential tremors': Is this one disease or a family of diseases?

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32 Scopus citations


There is accumulating evidence that the entity referred to as 'essential tremor' (ET) is not a single disease. It may be a family of diseases better referred to as 'the ETs'. This review will summarize the following evidence: (1) the presence of etiological heterogeneity; (2) the heterogeneity of findings in postmortem studies, thus suggesting several diseases; (3) the recent discussion that age of onset may be an important marker of disease heterogeneity; (4) the clinical expansion of the concept of ET in recent years to include a broader range of tremor phenomenology, other motor features (gait ataxia), other involuntary movements (dystonia), and nonmotor features (cognitive problems, psychiatric problems), some of which could be primary; (5) the heterogeneity of pharmacological response profiles and clinical progression, and (6) the association of ET with Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and possibly progressive supranuclear palsy, with the possibility that some ET patients are more predisposed to develop one of these.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Classification
  • Clinical features
  • Disease
  • Essential tremor
  • Genetics
  • Heterogeneity
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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