Tremor entities and their classification: an update

Curr Opin Neurol. 2015 Aug;28(4):393-9. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000211.


Purpose of review: This review focuses on important new findings in the field of tremor and illustrates the consequences for the current definition and classification of tremor.

Recent findings: Since 1998 when the consensus criteria for tremor were proposed, new variants of tremors and new diagnostic methods were discovered that have changed particularly the concepts of essential tremor and dystonic tremor. Accumulating evidence exists that essential tremor is not a single entity rather different conditions that share the common symptom action tremor without other major abnormalities. Tremor is a common feature in patients with adult-onset focal dystonia and may involve several different body parts and forms of tremor. Recent advances, in particular, in the field of genetics, suggest that dystonic tremor may even be present without overt dystonia. Monosymptomatic asymmetric rest and postural tremor has been further delineated, and apart from tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease, there are several rare conditions including rest and action tremor with normal dopamine transporter imaging (scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit) and essential tremor with tremor at rest.

Summary: Increasing knowledge in the last decades changed the view on tremors and highlights several caveats in the current tremor classification. Given the ambiguous assignment between tremor phenomenology and tremor etiology, a more cautious definition of tremors on the basis of clinical assessment data is needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dystonic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Essential Tremor / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Tremor / classification*
  • Tremor / diagnosis*