Essential tremor associated with pathologic changes in the cerebellum

Arch Neurol. 2006 Aug;63(8):1189-93. doi: 10.1001/archneur.63.8.1189.


Background: Although essential tremor (ET) is one of the most common neurologic disorders, there have been few postmortem studies. We recently reported postmortem changes (torpedoes and Bergmann gliosis) in the cerebellar cortex in a few ET cases.

Objective: To describe more extensive postmortem changes in the cerebellum in another ET case.

Design: Case report.

Results: A 90-year-old woman had a 30-year history of ET. At postmortem examination, there was segmental loss of Purkinje cells, presence of torpedoes, and Bergmann gliosis in the cerebellar cortex. Moreover, there were extensive changes in the dentate nucleus, in the form of neuronal loss, neuronal atrophy, microglial clusters, and reduction in the number of efferent fibers (ie, pallor of the hilum).

Conclusions: The brain in the current case exhibited more marked cerebellar pathologic features than noted in previously reported ET cases and thereby extends the described cerebellar findings in this common, yet pathologically poorly characterized, neurologic disorder.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Essential Tremor / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans