Understanding essential tremor: Progress on the biological front

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24 Scopus citations


For many years, little was written about the underlying biology of ET, despite its high prevalence. Discussions of disease mechanisms were dominated by a focus on tremor physiology. The traditional model of ET, the olivary model, was proposed in the 1970s. The model suffers from several critical problems, and its relevance to ET has been questioned. Recent mechanistic research has focused on the cerebellum. Clinical and neuroimaging studies strongly implicate the importance of this brain region in ET. Recent mechanistic research has been grounded more in tissue-based changes (i.e., postmortem studies of the brain). These studies have collectively and systematically identified a sizable number of changes in the ET cerebellum, and have led to a new model of ET, referred to as the cerebellar degenerative model. Hence, there is a renewed interest in the science behind the biology of ET. How the new understanding of ET will translate into treatment changes is an open question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number450
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biology
  • Cerebellum
  • Essential tremor
  • Pathophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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