Essential tremor is also known as or subsumes Benign tremor, Familial tremor, and Heredofamilial tremor. -ed.
Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder in adults. Most patients have not been diagnosed by a physician even though a majority of these patients report functional disability. In this clinical article, Dr. Rodger Elble of the Center for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine discusses the clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of essential tremor. Recent publications pertaining to the diagnosis, genetics, and treatment of essential tremor are reviewed. A genetic risk factor has, for the first time, been identified. Unfortunately, there are no new treatments, and available medications are frequently inadequate. Thalamic deep brain stimulation is effective in most patients, and new stereotactic surgical sites are being explored.