Mild cognitive impairment, dementia and risk of mortality in essential tremor: A longitudinal prospective study of elders

Nikki Delgado, Daniella Iglesias Hernandez, Keith Radler, Edward D. Huey, Stephanie Cosentino, Elan Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: There is evidence that the risk of mortality is increased in patients with essential tremor (ET), however, there are few longitudinal, prospective data on the predictors of mortality in ET. There is also evidence that ET is associated with cognitive impairment; yet, it is unknown whether this is associated with elevated risk of mortality. Methods: In a longitudinal, prospective study of 194 elders with ET, an extensive neuropsychological test battery was performed at three time points: baseline, 18 months, and 36 months, and cognitive diagnoses (normal, mild cognitive impairment [MCI], and dementia) were assigned during consensus conferences. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for death. Results: The mean baseline age was 79.1 ± 9.7 years. During follow-up, 52 (26.8%) died. In initial univariate models, a variety of baseline factors were associated with increased risk of mortality, including demographic variables (i.e., older age), cognitive variables and gait and balance variables. In the final multivariate Cox model, baseline dementia (HR = 2.66, p = 0.006), older baseline age (HR = 1.18, p < 0.001), and more reported falls at baseline (HR = 1.10, p < 0.001) were independently associated with increased risk of mortality. Amnestic MCI was marginally associated with increased risk of mortality (HR = 1.93, p = 0.08) in primary analyses and significantly (p < 0.05) in several sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: In this longitudinal, prospective study, baseline dementia resulted in a 2- to 3-times increase in risk of mortality in ET, further highlighting the clinical significance of cognitive impairment, specifically dementia, in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117563
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - Sep 15 2021


  • Cognitive aging
  • Dementia
  • Epidemiology
  • Essential tremor
  • Longitudinal
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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