The Relationship Between Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor: Review of Clinical, Epidemiologic, Genetic, Neuroimaging and Neuropathological Data, and Data on the Presence of Cardinal Signs of Parkinsonism in Essential Tremor

Jimenez-Jimenez, Felix Javier; Alonso-Navarro, Hortensia; Garcia-Martin, Elena; Agundez, Jose A. G.

Background: The possible relationship between essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson's disease (PD) has been controversial since the first description of PD. However, there is increasing evidence suggesting an overlap between these two disorders. The aim of this review is to examine the relationship between PD and ET, focusing on clinical, epidemiologic, genetic, neuroimaging, and neuropathological data, and the presence of cardinal parkinsonism symptoms in ET. Methods: We conducted a PubMed search for articles published between 1966 and November 2011 regarding the relationship between ET and PD and the presence of postural tremor in PD patients; the presence of rest tremor, rigidity, and slowed movements in ET patients is reviewed. Results: Clinical series, follow-up studies of ET patients, and case–control and genetic epidemiological studies indicate that ET is associated with increased risk for PD. Some neuroimaging studies and neuropathological reports suggest an association between the two diseases. ET patients show high prevalence of rest tremor, and at least seven studies described slowed movements (possibly related to cerebellar dysfunction and/or bradykinesia) in patients with ET. Discussion: There is reasonable epidemiological and clinical evidence to support a link between ET and PD, although it is not clear what factors predict ET patient risk for developing PD or, more rarely, of PD patients developing ET. Future multicentric and multidisciplinary studies including epidemiological, clinical, neuroimaging, genetic, and neuropathological assessments are required to understand these associations.



Also Published In

Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders
Published Here
September 18, 2012


Title continues: ". . . and Data on the Presence of Cardinal Signs of Parkinsonism in Essential Tremor."