Lack of association between essential tremor and Parkinson's disease

Ann Neurol. 1988 Jul;24(1):23-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410240106.


Four aspects of a possible association between essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson's disease (PD) were investigated: (1) the frequency of extrapyramidal signs in ET; (2) the frequency of concurrent ET and PD (i.e., monosymptomatic postural tremor for 5 or more years prior to onset of PD); (3) the frequency of ET in the families of PD patients; and (4) the frequency of PD in families of ET patients. Two hundred and thirty-seven ET patients (137 in London and 100 in Chicago) were evaluated. One hundred patients with PD and 100 normal control subjects were also investigated. Mild extrapyramidal signs occurred in only 4.5% of ET patients and were consistent with those found in normal aging. Only 3% of PD patients gave a history of uncomplicated ET. There was no difference in the frequency of a family history of PD between ET patients, a group of PD patients, and control subjects. Frequency of a family history of ET was higher among PD patients than control subjects, although the difference was not statistically significant. These data indicate that there is no association or genetic link between ET and PD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Extrapyramidal Tracts / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Posture
  • Risk Factors
  • Tremor / genetics*
  • Tremor / physiopathology