Higher prevalence of migraine in essential tremor: A case-control study

As I have related before, there are other symptoms of Essential Tremor (ET) beyond the shaking of hands, head and voice. It is an area that requires much more research. In HopeNET’s groups, the issue of migraines has come up a number of times. In the meantime, my daughter who supposedly does not have ET has suffered badly from migraines.  As my ET is hereditary, she & I had discussed the connection between ET & migraines a number of times. Then she found this article doing an internet search and forwarded it to me. It substantiates the connection between ET and migraines.

This raises another important issue of children who supposedly don’t have ET. Do all the children inherit ET to some degree? This question needs to be answered, and if so, what is the effect?

I welcome any comments you have.

Peter Muller
Executive Director

Higher prevalence of migraine in essential tremor: A case-control study

Yueqing Hu, Wenjing Tang, Ruozhuo Liu, Zhao Dong, Xiaoyan Chen, Meiyan Pan and Shengyuan Yu


Background: The existence of an association between migraine and essential tremor has long been controversial. The prevalence of migraine in essential tremor patients was surveyed to explore the association between the two diseases.

Methods: A case-control clinical study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of migraine in 150 consecutive
essential tremor patients and in 150 matched controls without tremor. Detailed information about essential tremor
and migraine was obtained using a structured questionnaire at a face-to-face interview. Moreover, a functional variant of the dopamine receptor D3 gene (Ser9Gly, rs6280) was studied in 46 essential tremor patients with and without migraine using direct sequencing analysis.

Results: The prevalence of lifetime migraine in essential tremor patients was significantly higher than that in controls (22.0% vs. 12.7%; p¼0.035; odds ratio¼1.95; 95% confidence interval¼1.05–3.60). No significant difference was found in the migraine features between the essential tremor and control groups and most tremor characteristics were no different in essential tremor patients with and without migraine. A higher male prevalence of essential tremor patients without migraine was observed. Moreover, 44 of 46 (95.7%) essential tremor patients had the dopamine receptor D3 Ser9Gly variant, but no significant difference was found in the frequencies of the variant between essential tremor patients with and without migraine (87.5% vs. 100.0%; p¼0.22).

Conclusion: Our data suggest that essential tremor patients have a higher risk of lifetime migraine than do controls and the dopamine receptor D3 Ser9Gly variant may be lower in essential tremor with migraine than the general essential tremor patients.

Essential tremor, migraine, dopamine receptor D3 gene, risk factor

Date received: 5 January 2014; accepted: 12 March 2014


Full Article

MRI Focused Ultrasound Procedure Presentation

The University of Maryland in Baltimore is performing the MRI Focused Ultrasound procedure. Charlene Aldrich from the Department of Neurology there made a presentation about it on February 5 to the Silver Spring support group. Charlene did an outstanding job of interacting with the group. In the process, she made clear her empathy for them and her desire to really help. The attached is the slideshow she used.

While the FDA has yet to approve it. The results so far are very promising.

Peter Muller
Executive Director

Presentation Slides (pdf format)


Charlene Aldrich and Peter Muller

Charlene Aldrich Presentation


Charlene Aldrich Presentation

Becky Epton – ET Hero

Becky Epton was a middle-aged woman who lived in suburban Virginia outside Washington. She had a bad case of Essential Tremor which affected her hands, head and voice. She regularly came to our Falls Church support group. At the June 9, 2011 meeting, we discussed the new procedure – MRI Focused Ultrasound. Immediately after the meeting, Becky contacted the University of Virginia about having the procedure. That September, she was the twelfth person to have it.

Becky & I communicated extensively by phone and email both before and afterwards. I was so impressed with her courage having such a new procedure. She didn’t hesitate at all.

It was a success. Previously the tremor was so bad in her predominant hand that she had to learn to use her other hand to do things. Afterwards the tremor in her predominant hand was almost non-existent. She had to learn to use it again. Her disappointment was that she had hoped it would improve the tremor in her voice and head. The people at UVA had told her beforehand it would not, and it didn’t.

Becky came to our support group meeting afterwards and related her experience. She came a few more times after that. I was always very happy to see her as it was so nice to see an ET success story. But she stopped coming because she was unable due to other health problems.

She developed a very serious and debilitating disease. She died last week. Her last few months had been very difficult. She was my hero. I had always been impressed with her courage and told her so. She deserved much better!

Becky, I’ll miss you.