Mind the gaps: What we don't know about cognitive impairment in essential tremor

Elan D. Louis, Jillian L. Joyce, Stephanie Cosentino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although the hallmark feature of essential tremor (ET) is tremor, there is growing appreciation that cognitive impairment also occurs, including increased prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and increased prevalence and incidence of dementia. With emerging knowledge of ET-cognitive impairment, come fundamental questions regarding its course, bases, predictors and clinical outcomes. Studies in the general population and in Parkinson's disease (PD), a related movement disorder, offer a starting point from which to begin filling these clinically important knowledge gaps. Methods: A PubMed search (June 2018) identified articles for this review. Results: Much of our knowledge of cognitive impairment in ET is of the static condition (e.g., prevalence of cognitive impairment in ET), with nearly no information on its bases, predictors and dynamics (i.e., course, and clinical outcomes). In PD, where such data have been published, rates of cognitive decline and conversion to MCI/dementia are higher than in the general population. Predictors of cognitive change in PD and the general population have also been identified, yet they only partially overlap one another. Conclusion: The predictors and dynamics of cognitive impairment have been investigated fairly extensively in the general population, to a somewhat lesser extent in PD, and are emerging only now in ET. We suggest that longitudinal studies specific to ET are needed, and we outline variables to be considered in these investigations. Increased knowledge of ET-cognitive impairment will facilitate meaningful counseling of patients and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Essential tremor
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Mind the gaps: What we don't know about cognitive impairment in essential tremor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this