Tremor Gram – January 2024

Is it Essential Tremor or Parkinson’s Disease?

ET vs Parkinsons photo

Most everyone has heard of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In fact, when someone shakes, it’s often assumed that PD is the culprit. But essential tremor (ET) is eight times more common. So how

do you know which is which? Here are a few determining factors:

  • In ET, tremors are seen mostly during action (when trying to use your hands to eat, write or perform tasks), while in PD, tremors are seen mostly at rest.
  • In ET, a family history is reported in more than 50 percent of cases, while in PD family history is around 10 percent.
  • Drinking an alcoholic drink often improves tremor for people with ET, but in PD patients alcohol has no impact on their tremor.

Want to learn more? See a side by side comparison of the two conditions in the IETF’s, “ET vs Parkinson’s. How Do They Differ?” handout online.

Most importantly, don’t hesitate to see a movement disorder specialist who can ensure you get the right diagnosis.

Order Your FREE ET Awareness Posters

We invite you to get involved in raising awareness about essential tremor (ET) with our FREE ET Awareness Posters.

NETA Month 24 Poster

March is National Essential Tremor Awareness Month (NETA) and we’re gearing up for our annual campaign to help achieve a greater understanding and acceptance of ET. This year’s theme is “Let’s Take the Mystery Out of ET.”

Our annual awareness posters have been printed and are ready to be shared. The poster defines ET and gives some overall facts. The posters can be hung in the workplace, local community center, library or other public places. Just complete the online form to receive yours.

We’re also looking for your stories. Share how ET impacts your life to educate others. We’ll share these as blog posts on our website. Send them to Tammy Dodderidge, IETF Marketing and Communications Manager, tammy@essentialtremor.org.

Watch for more information about our 2024 NETA Month campaign or go to our ET Awareness website page to learn more.

Become Our Newest Trailblazer

ET Trailblazers are dedicated to finding answers and lending critical support to the ET community. Their generous monthly contributions allow us to respond quickly to grant and research opportunities and develop helpful programs and outreach services.

Please join the Trailblazers today by becoming a monthly donor to the IETF. It’s convenient for you because you won’t have to worry about initiating an annual donation, and you’ll never miss and issue of Tremor Talk magazine. Plus, you’ll be making a significant and ongoing impact on the lives of people coping with ET.

Sign up today!


Sign Up for a Clinical Trial

If you want to make a difference in the search for better treatments for essential tremor (ET), consider participating in a clinical trial. On our website, we keep an ongoing list of clinical trials recruiting participants.

Here are some of the most recent ones:

  • Praxis Precision Medicines Essential3 At-Home Phase 3 Research Study in Essential Tremor. The Essential3 study is an at-home research study evaluating an investigational drug, to see if it may improve your ability to complete everyday tasks, such as eating, drinking and dressing. The Essential3 study has been designed so that you may participate from the comfort of your own home. There is no travel or trips to the doctor’s office required. If you would like to learn more about this study and see if you qualify, visit www.essential3study.com.
  • Researchers in the Voice Lab at The University of Texas at Austin invite individuals with essential tremor to participate in a study of voice. The goals of the study are to understand how speakers control their voice and to develop therapy that improves vocal control. For more information contact the UT Voice Lab, (512) 232-4428, or email voicelab@austin.utexas.edu.
Categories: Tremor Gram

13 thoughts on “Tremor Gram – January 2024

  1. I am 91 AND HAVE LIVED A LIFE OF DECEIT AND LONELINESS TRYING TO COVER THE MANY TASKS OF DEALING WITHMY E.T. I FEEL THAT I AM NEARING THE END OF MY LIFE AND WANT TO DO WHAT I CAN TO HELP . I NOTICE THE ABOVE ARTICLE REGARDING VOICE PROBLEMS. THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PROBLEM FOR ME AND WANT TO LOOK INTO THAT AREA.

  2. I have the combination of ET & Dystonia with the cervical tremor. My hands are not affected. The diagnosis given is the tremor is primarily Dystonic. At present I am being treated with the Botox injections which I feel are becoming less effective. Can you comment on this combination?

    Thank you, F.W. Lichty

  3. The first time I saw the effect of alcohol on tremor was my father, who had been dx’d with Parkinson’s and dementia. I have to share, because it was kind of jaw dropping. One day my dad told me, his primary caregiver, that he wanted to check out a new restaurant nearby. We hadn’t done anything like that in months, so I was surprised and a little nervous. It was very obviously a yuppie bar and I didn’t know how Pop would handle it. When we arrived, I was dismayed to discover it had several levels. Dad was on a walker and none too sturdy, but a nice server helped us get settled in. We had a few beers and some tapas, and then the place filled up for happy hour, so we decided to go. My dad stood up straight(!) folded up his walker, tucked it under his arm and walked out of the place on his own, while the server and I gaped. He was like that for about 4 hours, before the tremor and dementia returned. Completely lucid, and no tremors or shuffling. He passed six months later. I’m so glad we did that, I got to see my dad again for a few hours, and he had fun. After his passing, the doctors always wondered if he had Lewy Bodies, because it went faster than Parkinson’s, but it was the mid ’90’s and they were just beginning to differentiate. Even though I received an initial PD dx, and it eventually was changed to ET, I started using tiny sips of alcohol before public events because I knew it would work. Fortunately, I am not even a social drinker anymore, so I only need a little bit. Always carry a little ‘shooter’ bottle in my purse, just in case. But whatever my dad had, 3 beers brought him completely out of it for the rest of that day. I’m currently involved in a study about lucidity, and as of yet, alcohol has not been mentioned, but it needs better examination and research.

  4. Recently diagnosed with ET. Was so worried it was Parkinson’s, as I’ve had family on both maternal and paternal sides w/PD. Your information has helped me understand so much more. Mine has advanced in the last year and a half, affecting now my head, voice, and sometimes my legs. I’ve lost my singing voice after singing on my praise team at church for 35 years. Broke my heart! Just so thankful for my life though. God Bless

    1. While you may not be able to sing/perform at church, I’m sure you touched many people over the years with your voice. Never forget that! Thank you for your note.

  5. Your information is spot on. My husband had DaTscan last month and his nuerologist confirmed it was ET and not Parkinson’s. He has been through several medications prior over the past few years. Some making him sleepy or very lethargic. We found that Propranolol has helped a bit with the tremors in his hands but not completely. His neurologist said he would be a good candidate for DBS (deep brain stimulation). My husband is considering it but wants to take time researching the pros and cons out there with other patients. The only family member who had similar tremors was his maternal grandfather who was diagnosed with Huntington’s Chorea back in the late 50’s early 6o’s. When I asked his neurologist about my husband having the gene from his grandfather he told us he did not have it. Thank you for this wonderful website which we are glad to be part of. Keep the information coming on ET.

    1. We are so glad your husband has received a proper diagnosis. DaTscan’s are incredible for this process, but not everyone has medical coverage to be able to afford one, unfortunately. We try to provide a wide range of educational material on our website so we are glad you are finding it helpful. It sounds like you are doing your homework with regard to DBS, which is so important. We have a list of assistive devices/therapies on our website as well which people have found helpful. Here is the link to that page. https://essentialtremor.org/resource/assistive-devices/. Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback; we love knowing that what we are doing is making a difference in people’s lives.

  6. I first noticed my tremor when I couldn’t hold a coffee cup without a lid without spilling it. When the hot coffee spilled on my hand, the tremor increased. I was in my early 40’s. Since then, I have been dealing with it with medications, but the medications don’t work well, which is frustrating. Because they are not very effective, I have wondered if I had Parkinsons, but so far, I don’t have the typical symptoms of shaking when at rest.
    My sister has Parkinsons and has the typical symptoms and I have the symptom of having trouble staying awake, as has she. My mother was diagnosed with Parkinsons. My other sister has a tremor, but tremor medications work with her much more easily than they do with me. I wish there was a better solution for me.

  7. I watched a feature on 60 Minutes about Dr. Ruzi (not sure of the spelling) of the Rockefeller Institute in Morgantown, W. Va. He seems to be having success in curing people (or at least improving their condition) of Essential Tremours and Parkinson’s using laser guided ultrasound treatments. Do you know anything about him?

  8. Appreciate info on ET. Have been diagnosed & always eager to hear of helpful hints. My hands are the main targets but balance is another problem. Yes, glass of vino helps. Now RA is kicking in so had to stop
    Golfing. Am 85 & just widowed so right now, my life has turned upside down

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