Tag Archives: Essential Tremor

Essential Tremor

Alternative Names:  Tremor – essential; Familial tremor; Tremor – familial

Definition:
Essential tremor is a disorder of the nervous system that causes a rhythmic shaking. Essential tremor (ET) goes by many names (benign essential tremor and familial tremor being two others), but regardless of the name it is characterized by a shaking in primarily the hands and arms, but it can be found in the jaw and throat and even more rarely the legs. ET is a widely varying disease that can affect many body parts and can vary in its intensity. Some people have a minor tremor in their hands, while others will have a highly noticeable tremor that affects the afflicted’s quality of life and can be mistaken for Parkinson’s Disease by the lay person. Many diseases have a tremor associated with them, but what sets ET apart from other diseases is its lack of any symptom outside of the tremor. Most people will never be diagnosed as having ET, and even when diagnosed there are few treatments available. Essential tremor is inherited by more people on a year by year basis than any other movement disease, this being because it is a simple dominant autosomal trait……...click & see

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Although usually not a dangerous condition, essential tremor worsens over time and can be severe in some people.Essential tremor can occur at any age but is most common in older adults……....you may click  to read more

Symptoms:
The tremor is usually most obvious in the hands, but may affect the arms, head, eyelids, or other muscles. The tremor rarely affects the legs or feet. People with essential tremor may have trouble holding or using small objects such as silverware or a pen.

The shaking usually involves small, rapid movements — more than 5 times a second.

Specific symptoms may include:

*Begin gradually

*Worsen with movement

*Usually occur in the hands first, affecting one hand or both hands

*Are aggravated by emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine or extremes of temperature

*Head nodding (Can include a “yes-yes” or “no-no” motion of the head)

*Shaking or quivering sound to the voice if the tremor affects the voice box

*Difficulty writing, drawing, drinking from a cup, or using tools if the tremor affects the hands

The tremors may:

*Occur when you move (action-related tremor), and may be less noticeable with rest

*Come and go, but generally get worse as you age

*Get worse with stress, caffeine, and certain medications

*Not affect both sides of the body the same way

Essential tremor vs. Parkinson’s disease

Many people associate tremors with Parkinson’s disease, but the two conditions differ in key ways:

*When tremors occur. Essential tremor of the hands typically occurs when you use your hands. Tremors from Parkinson’s are most prominent when your hands are at your sides or resting in your lap.

*Associated conditions. Essential tremor doesn’t cause other health problems, whereas Parkinson’s is associated with a stooped posture, slow movement and a shuffling gait. However, people with essential tremor may sometimes develop other neurological signs and symptoms — such as an unsteady gait (ataxia).

*Parts of body affected. Essential tremor can involve your hands, head, voice and legs. Tremors from Parkinson’s typically affect your hands but not your head or voice.

Causes:
Essential tremor is the most common type of tremor. In general, tremors occur when there is a problem with the nerves supplying certain muscles. However, everyone has some essential tremor but the movements are usually so small that they can’t be seen.

About half of essential tremor cases appear to occur because of a genetic mutation. This is referred to as familial tremor. What causes essential tremor in people without a known genetic mutation isn’t clear.

Some research suggests that the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls muscles movements, does not work correctly in patients with essential tremor.

Noticeable essential tremors can be seen at any age but are most common in people older than 65.

Essential tremor can also occur with other neurological conditions, including dystonia, parkinsonism, and certain inherited nerve conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

If an essential tremor occurs in more than one member of a family, it is called a familial tremor. This type of essential tremor is passed down through families (inherited), which suggests that genes play a role in its cause.

Familial tremor is usually a dominant trait, which means that you only need to get the gene from one parent to develop the disorder. It usually starts in early middle age, but may be seen in people who are older or younger.

Risk Factors:
There are two known risk factors for essential tremor:

*Genetic mutation. The inherited variety of essential tremor is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a defective gene from just one parent is needed to pass on the condition. If you have a parent with a genetic mutation for essential tremor, you have a 50 percent chance of developing the disorder yourself.

*Age. Essential tremor is more common in middle age and older.

Complications:
Essential tremor is not life-threatening, but symptoms often worsen over time. If the tremors become severe, you may find it difficult to:

*Hold a cup or glass without spilling

*Eat normally

*Put on makeup or shave

*Talk, if your voice box or tongue is affected

*Write — handwriting may become increasingly large, shaky and illegible

Diagnosis:

Your doctor can make the diagnosis by performing a physical exam and asking questions about your medical and personal history.

A physical exam will show shaking with movement, usually small movements that are faster than 5 times per second. There are usually no problems with coordination or mental function.

Further tests may be needed to rule out other reasons for the tremors. Other causes of tremors may include:

•Alcohol withdrawal
•Cigarette smoking
•Hyperthyroidism
•Pheochromocytoma
•Too much caffeine
•Use of certain medications
•Wilson’s disease
Blood tests and imaging studies (such as a CT scan of the head, brain MRI, and x-rays) are usually normal.
The most common way to diagnose ET is by having a patient draw the Archimedes Spiral, which is shown immediately below.

If there is a shakiness detected while drawing the spiral, ET can be diagnosed assuming there are no neurological or biological reasons to be found. Below is a picture of what the Archimedes Spiral looks like when drawn by a person with a relatively severe tremor:

Treatment:
Treatment may not be necessary unless the tremors interfere with your daily activities or cause embarrassment.

When diagnosed with ET there are several courses of action depending on the severity of the tremor.
Medicines may help relieve symptoms. How well medicines work depend on the individual patient.

Two medications used to treat tremors include:

•Propranolol, a drug that blocks the action of stimulating substances called neurotransmitters, particularly those related to adrenaline
•Primidone, an antiseizure drug that also controls the function of some neurotransmitters
The drugs can have significant side effects.

Side effects of propranolol include:

•Fatigue
•Nose stuffiness
•Shortness of breath (people with asthma should not use this drug)
•Slow heart beat
Side effects of primidone include:

•Drowsiness
•Difficulty concentrating
•Nausea
•Problems with walking, balance, and coordination
Other medications that may reduce tremors include:

•Antiseizure drugs such as gabapentin and topiramate
•Mild tranquilizers such as alprazolam or clonazepam
•Blood pressure drugs called calcium-channel blockers such as flunarizine and nimodipine
Botox injections, given in the hand, have been used to reduce tremors by weakening local muscles.

In severe cases, surgery to implant a stimulating device in the brain may be an option.

Prognosis:

An essential tremor is not a dangerous condition, but some patients find the tremors annoying and embarrassing. In some cases, it may be dramatic enough to interfere with work, eating, or drinking.

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Prevention:
Stress and caffeine can make tremors worse. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda, and other stimulants. Exercise and counseling to reduce emotional stress may also help.

Alcoholic beverages in small quantities may decrease tremors but can lead to alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse, especially if you have a family history of such problems. How alcohol helps relieve tremors is unknown.


Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://wiki.ggc.usg.edu/mediawiki/index.php/Essential_Tremor
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/essential-tremor/DS00367
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000762.htm

Movement Disorders

Introduction:
Movement disorders are a group of nervous system (neurological) conditions that cause you to have abnormal voluntary or involuntary movements, or slow, reduced movements.
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Even a simple action such as picking up a pencil engages several different parts of the brain. The conscious thought areas of the brain trigger the motor area to send signals to the muscles of the arm.

As the movement begins, sensors in the arm are activated, sending signals back into different areas of the brain that interpret them and then send further messages to the motor area to fine tune power, speed, coordination and balance.

Given such complexity, problems with the control of movement are understandably widespread. Essential tremor – the most common movement disorder – affects one in 20 people under the age of 40 and one in five people over 65. Up to one in ten people has restless legs syndrome.

Other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease (which affects one in 500 people) are less common, but can severely impair quality of life because they reduce the independence of those affected.

Types:
There are various types of  Movement disorders and that include :

*Ataxia. Ataxia is a neurological condition that affects the part of your brain that controls coordinated movement (cerebellum). Ataxia may cause uncoordinated movements, imbalance and other symptoms.

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*Dystonia. Dystonia is a neurological condition in which your muscles contract involuntarily and may cause twisting and repetitive movements. Dystonia may involve the entire body (generalized dystonia) or one part of the body (focal dystonia).

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*Essential tremor. Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes involuntary shaking (tremors). Your hands often are affected, but other parts of your body also may be affected.

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*Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is an inherited progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that causes certain nerve cells in your brain to deteriorate. This condition may cause uncontrolled movements, decreased thinking abilities (cognitive abilities), and emotional and mental health disturbances (psychiatric conditions).

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*Multiple system atrophy. Multiple system atrophy is an uncommon, progressive neurological disorder that affects many areas of your brain and nervous system. Multiple system atrophy may cause ataxia or parkinsonism. This condition frequently impairs body systems that modulate your blood pressure, heart rate and bladder function (autonomic function).

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*Myoclonus.:  Myoclonus is a condition in which you have sudden, jerky movements, twitching, or intermittent spasms of a muscle or group of muscles.

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*Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects your movement and may cause shaking (tremor), muscle stiffness (rigidity), slowing of movement, impaired balance or other symptoms. Parkinsonism describes a group of conditions that has symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease.

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*Progressive supranuclear palsy. Progressive supranuclear palsy is a rare neurological disorder that causes you to have problems with walking, balance and eye movements. It resembles Parkinson’s disease but is a distinct condition.

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*Restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant, abnormal feelings in your legs while you’re relaxing or lying down. Your symptoms often are relieved by movement.
Tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological condition caused by long-term use of certain drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions (neuroleptic drugs). Tardive dyskinesia causes repetitive and involuntary movements such as grimacing, eye blinking and other movements.

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*Tourette syndrome. Tourette syndrome is a neurological condition which starts between childhood and teenage years and is associated with repetitive movements (motor tics) and vocal sounds (vocal tics).

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*Wilson’s disease. Wilson’s disease is an inherited (genetic) disorder that causes excessive amounts of copper to build up in your body, causing neurological problems.

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Treatment :Treatment depends upon the underlying disorder

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movement_disorder
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/movementdisorders1.shtml
http://www.ganeurosurg.org/specialties/movementdisorders.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/movement-disorders/

Dystonia


http://wiki.ggc.usg.edu/mediawiki/index.php/Essential_Tremor
http://www.bothbrainsandbeauty.com/academic-discussions/huntingtons-disease-991
http://www.chelationtherapyonline.com/anatomy/p3.htm

http://fisioterapiananeurologia.blogspot.com/2011/05/ataxia-de-friedreich.html

http://www.movementdisorders.org/james_parkinson/early_atypical.html

Restless Legs Syndrome

Tourette’s Syndrome Pictures

http://www.eurowilson.org/en/living/guide/what/index.phtml

New Discovery On Cause Of Tremor

 

In a new discovery, UK scientists have found a mechanism in the spine that counteracts the brain waves that produce tremor: they suggest the discovery could help around 1 million people in the UK who suffer from shakes and tremors.

A paper on the research that led to the discovery, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust, and conducted by scientists at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, was published online ahead of print in the 1 June issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Most healthy individuals have experienced mild tremor, it is not uncommon when we feel tired, hungry or nervous, but more severe forms can be a symptom of neurological disease, including Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and also Essential Tremor which is usually a disease of old age but it can also affect young people and it often leaves patients unable to walk unaided.

Dr Stuart Baker, professor of movement neuroscience at Newcastle, told the media that:

“We don’t fully understand the brain systems causing these tremors but they can really have a massive impact on someone’s quality of life. They lose their independence and can’t do something as simple as make a cup of tea.”

Baker explained the approach they took in their research: instead of looking at why people have tremors, they decided to investigate why most people don’t have them.

He said that the part of the brain that controls movement produces brain waves the work at 10 cycles per second, so in theory everyone should have tremors that have that frequency.

In fact we do, said Baker, but the tremor is so smal that we don’t notice it. So he and his team wondered if there was another process at work, one that countered the effect of the 10 cycles per second.

For their study, Baker and colleagues used macaque monkeys: they taught them how to move their index finger backwards and forwards very slowly, which exacerbated the natural minor tremor that we humans and our primate relatives have in common.

They then recorded nerve cell activity in the brain and spinal cord as the animals performed their slow finger movements.

The results showed that not only was the rhythm of nerve cell activity in the brain and spinal cord oscillating at around the same frequency as the tremor, but that the spinal cord was exactly out of phase with the brain, effectively cancelling out its oscillations and thus reducing the size of the tremor.

The researchers wrote that:

Convergence of antiphase oscillations from the SC [spinal cord] with cortical and subcortical descending inputs will lead to cancellation of approximately 10 Hz oscillations at the motoneuronal level.”

They concluded that:

“This could appreciably limit drive to muscle at this frequency, thereby reducing tremor and improving movement precision. ”

Baker said there are many types of disease associated with tremor, and perhaps in some of these the controller in the spine malfunctions and that is what actually leads to tremor.

In other diseases, he said, we already know the cause of tremor is a problem in brain regions that produce abnormally high oscillations.

“But even then, the spinal system we have discovered will reduce tremors, making the symptoms much less severe than they would otherwise be,” he added.

The researchers suggested that the more we understand about how the spinal controller works, the better chance we have of developing treatments that adjust it to work better and thereby reduce the levels of tremor that patients experience and improve their quality of life.

“Spinal interneuron circuits reduce approximately 10-Hz movement discontinuities by phase cancellation.”

Source: Medical News Today.Jun 2. 2010

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