Essential tremor (ET) is a nerve disorder characterized by uncontrollable shaking, or "tremors," in different parts and on different sides of the body. Areas affected often include the hands, arms, head, larynx (voice box), tongue, and chin. The lower body is rarely affected.
ET is not a life-threatening disorder, unless it prevents a person from caring for him or herself. Most people are able to live normal lives with this condition -- although they may find everyday activities like eating, dressing, or writing difficult. It is only when the tremors become severe that they actually cause disability.
When Jim Lyman worried about his son’s future, one that involved the challenges of autism, he thought of roses. Lyman approached an old friend, Tom Pinchbeck, whose family owned Pinchbeck’s Rose Farm, in Guilford, CT., with an unconventional idea—turn the recently closed rose farm into a program that hires and trains individuals along the autism spectrum.
From this initial idea blossomed Roses for Autism, a program that provides training, guidance and employment opportunities for older students...
The true cause of essential tremor is still not understood, but it is thought that the abnormal electrical brain activity that causes tremor is processed through the thalamus. The thalamus is a structure deep in the brain that coordinates and controls muscle activity.
Genetics is responsible for causing ET in half of all people with the condition. A child born to a parent with ET will have up to a 50% chance of inheriting the responsible gene, but may never actually experience symptoms. Although ET is more common in the elderly -- and symptoms become more pronounced with age -- it is not a part of the natural aging process.
Who Gets Essential Tremor?
Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder, affecting up to 10 million people in the U.S.
While ET can occur at any age, it most often strikes for the first time during adolescence or in middle age (between ages 40 and 50).
What Are the Symptoms of Essential Tremor?
The primary symptoms associated with essential tremor include:
Uncontrollable shaking that occurs for brief periods of time
Tremors that worsen during periods of emotional stress