Blood Harmane (1-Methyl-9H-Pyrido[3,4-b]indole) and Mercury in Essential Tremor: A Population-Based, Environmental Epidemiology Study in the Faroe Islands

Elan D. Louis, Eina H. Eliasen, Monica Ferrer, Daniella Iglesias Hernandez, Shahin Gaini, Wendy Jiang, Wei Zheng, Flemming Nielsen, Maria Skaalum Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Essential tremor (ET) is among the most prevalent neurological diseases. Its environmental determinants are poorly understood. Harmane (1-methyl-9H-pyrido[3, 4-b]indole), a dietary tremor-producing neurotoxin, has been linked to ET in a few studies in New York and Madrid. Mercury, also a tremor-producing neurotoxin, has not been studied in ET. The Faroe Islands have been the focus of epidemiological investigations of numerous neurological disorders. Objective: In this population-based, case-control study, we directly measured blood harmane concentrations (HA) and blood mercury concentrations (Hg) in ET cases and controls. Methods: In total, 1,328 Faroese adults were screened; 26 ET cases were identified whose (HA) and (Hg) were compared to 197 controls. Results: Although there were no statistically significant differences between diagnostic groups, median (HA) was 2.7× higher in definite ET (4.13 g-10/mL) and 1.5× higher in probable ET (2.28 g-10/mL) than controls (1.53 g-10/mL). Small sample size was a limitation. For definite ET versus controls, p = 0.126. (Hg) were similar between groups. Conclusions: We demonstrated marginally elevated (HA) in definite and probable ET. These data are similar to those previously published and possibly extend etiological links between this neurotoxin and ET to a third locale. The study did not support a link between mercury and ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-280
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroepidemiology
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Case-control study
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Essential tremor
  • Faroe Islands
  • Harmane
  • Mercury
  • Neurotoxin
  • Populationbased design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Louis, E. D., Eliasen, E. H., Ferrer, M., Iglesias Hernandez, D., Gaini, S., Jiang, W., Zheng, W., Nielsen, F., & Petersen, M. S. (2020). Blood Harmane (1-Methyl-9H-Pyrido[3,4-b]indole) and Mercury in Essential Tremor: A Population-Based, Environmental Epidemiology Study in the Faroe Islands. Neuroepidemiology, 54(3), 272-280. https://doi.org/10.1159/000505874