Early head tremor in essential tremor: A case series and commentary

Elan D. Louis, Funmi M. Badejo, Ashley D. Cristal, James Meyers, Nora Hernandez, Karen P. Chen, Kelly V. Naranjo, Jemin Park, Lorraine N. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Classically, the onset of head tremor in essential tremor (ET) patients follows that of hand tremor, such that there is a somatotopic spread of involved areas. Here we present a series of seven self-reportedly “unaffected” relatives of ET cases. These seven were clinically asymptomatic and had normal levels of arm tremor on examination, yet each evidenced a transient head wobble on examination. We estimate the prevalence of this phenotype within the two studies from which cases were ascertained. Methods: ET cases and their self-reportedly affected and unaffected relatives, enrolled in two family studies, underwent a medical history and videotaped neurological examination. Results: In seven self-reportedly “unaffected” relatives, a transient and subtle head wobble was seen, always during sustained phonation, speech, or reading aloud. Total tremor score (a measure of arm tremor) ranged from 5 to 12 (i.e., mild tremor within the range of normal). The prevalence of this phenotype of early head tremor was 3.7% in one study and 23.1% in the other. Discussion: We present a series of seven individuals who had early head tremor in an evolving transition state from normal to ET. These cases raise a number of broad clinical, phenotypic, and pathophysiological issues about ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Clinical
  • Essential tremor
  • Head tremor
  • Phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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    Louis, E. D., Badejo, F. M., Cristal, A. D., Meyers, J., Hernandez, N., Chen, K. P., Naranjo, K. V., Park, J., & Clark, L. N. (2017). Early head tremor in essential tremor: A case series and commentary. Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements, 7. https://doi.org/10.7916/D8KW5MRG