How Does Presence of Essential Tremor Affect Progression of Parkinson Disease?

Posted on January 5, 2021

December 24, 2020 — Among patients with Parkinson disease (PD), a positive history of essential tremor (ET) was found to be associated with slower progression of motor and nonmotor symptoms, with no impact observed on survival, according to study findings published in Scientific Reports.

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4 thoughts on “How Does Presence of Essential Tremor Affect Progression of Parkinson Disease?

  1. My husband has had Essential Tremor for years and is under the care of a Neurologist, but most recently the doctor noticed that his walking and talking was slower so she ordered at DaTscan. She told us that the scan showed that he has Parkinson’s Disease, but she is not really sure. She claims that the first diagnosis that the test points out is Parkinson’s, but maybe it could be something worse. She is giving him medication for the Parkinson’s so far I am going with him to another neurologist for a 2nd consult tomorrow to check this situation out. This doc has our doctor’s notes and a copy of the DaTscan. What is your take on this situation?

    1. It sounds like you are on the right path to a proper diagnosis. A DaTscan produces a picture of the brain using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), to measure dopamine transporter levels. In Parkinson’s disease, a reduction in dopamine transporter levels is seen, whereas in ET the scan is normal. Because many people mistake ET for PD, a DaTscan is a great way to distinguish between the two. It’s always good to get a second opinion, especially when you are in doubt.

  2. I had a DaTscan about 5 years ago. I did not have Parkinson’s. But I am moving more slowly. Should I have another one?

    1. Please have a conversation with your doctor about this. Essential tremor does tend to worsen with age so your actions could be indicative of this. Do you have different symptoms? For instance, is your tremor still a resting tremor (active when you try to use your arms/hands) or a resting tremor (which means it’s always there even at rest, which is a symptom of PD)? Does ET run in your family?

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