Family history information on essential tremor: Potential biases related to the source of the cases

Elan D. Louis, Livia F. Barnes, Blair Ford, Ruth Ottman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The proportion of essential tremor (ET) cases that can be attributed to genetic factors is unknown; estimates range from 17-100%. One possible reason for this variability is that clinic and community cases may differ with regard to family history of ET. This is because clinic patients are self-selected and represent as few as 0.5% of all ET cases. Our goal was to determine whether ET cases ascertained from a clinic differed from those ascertained from a community in terms of the family history information that they provided. Subjects (57 clinic, 64 community) underwent a family history interview. Clinic cases were 4.73 times more likely to report an affected relative than were community cases. We conclude that there was a substantial difference between our clinic and community ET cases in terms of the information they provided regarding their family history. Selection and reporting biases could have accounted for this difference. Because of these biases, the source of the cases must be taken into consideration when investigators are trying to synthesize the widely variable results of studies that have estimated the genetic contribution to ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-324
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Essential tremor
  • Family history
  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Family history information on essential tremor: Potential biases related to the source of the cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this