Clinical differentiation of essential tremor and Parkinson's disease

Clin Med Insights Case Rep. 2013 Apr 29;6:67-74. doi: 10.4137/CMCRep.S11903. Print 2013.


We present clinical features and tremor characterization in a patient with Parkinson's disease (PD) as well as in two cases of essential tremor (ET) with some parkinsonian features but no evidence of dopaminergic terminal loss on (123)I-FP-CIT Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT). Relatively slow frequency rest tremor and bilateral upper extremity bradykinesia without decrementing amplitude were observed in the ET cases, with unilaterally decreased arm swing in case 3. Alternating rest tremor and re-emergent tremor with 13 second latency was confirmed in the PD case. Re-emergent tremor had alternating characteristics, which to our knowledge has not been previously reported. The ET cases had synchronous postural tremor. Alternating re-emergent tremor in PD provides further evidence for re-emergent tremor as an analogue of rest tremor in PD. Two cases of ET with synchronous postural tremor and one to two year history of parkinsonian features had no evidence of dopaminergic terminal loss up to 40 years after the initial onset of ET. Tremor synchronicity characterization can assist in differential diagnosis between the two disorders.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; SWEDD; alternating tremor; asynchronous tremor; essential tremor; re-emergent tremor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports