Joy Schaaf

Joy Schaaf, ET patient and fundraiser extraordinaire

James Parkinson first distinguished essential tremor from other tremor disorders (including the disease that carries his namesake) in 1817. Here we are nearly 200 years later, and there are still many unanswered questions about essential tremor. However, researchers are moving our knowledge forward. It is vital to understand what causes ET in order to develop tailored treatment options and even, someday, a cure for this life-altering condition.

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IETF Funded Research

Learn more about the essential tremor research studies that are funded by IETF grants.

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Recruiting Participants

Choosing to participate in clinical research is an important personal decision.  Clinical trials offer an opportunity to try a new therapy, but a person needs to understand and consider the benefits and risks before agreeing to be part of any study.

Recruiting Studies

Research News – Outcomes & Reports

Research in the News

Focused Ultrasound

Recently, the potential of employing Focused Ultrasound Radiosurgery for the treatment of essential tremor has generated massive interest in the essential tremor community. This technology is in the early stages of development and research, but may someday become another surgical option for the treatment of essential tremor.

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Brain Bank

Brain donation (also called postmortem examination or autopsy) is the only way to find the cause of essential tremor. Researchers at Columbia University, with the help of the IETF, maintain a centralized brain bank. This brain bank will enable doctors to begin actively studying what happens in the brains of people with ET.

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ET Research Grants

Please fill out the application and complete the other requirements listed on the application in order to be considered. The IETF is requesting proposals for grants addressing the nosology, etiology, pathogenesis, treatment or other topics relevant to essential tremor. Concise, clearly written proposals that are hypothesis-driven have the best chance of being funded. The scope of the proposals.

Grant Application

Research Grant Guidelines

Conflict of Interest Policy


Further Reading

The Driving Need for Essential Tremor Research
By Ludy Shih, MD
As a clinician investigator, I see two things driving the need for essential tremor research: A) the need for more effective and better tolerated medications for tremor, and B) the ways that the common clinical features of ET should lend us clues to the understanding of tremor.

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Imaging the ET Brain
By Fatta B. Nahab, MD
Investigators are using various advanced MRI techniques to compare both the structure and function of ET brains to those without ET. This will help provide answers that may help explain why people have different tremor types or severities, why people have different responses to particular medications, and what role genetics has on the brain.

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GABA receptor may present target for new ET drug therapy
By Charles A. Handforth, MD
I now aim to narrow down exactly which combination of delta, alpha, and beta subunits forms the receptor capable of suppressing tremor when activated. I believe that the identification of this receptor could lead to the development of drugs that specifically suppress tremor, yet might be well tolerated.

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