Essential Tremor and Cognitive Decline

July 11, 2018

Though essential tremor was originally thought to occur in isolation and only affect the movement aspect of a person, it has been found to cause other neurological abnormalities. This shows that essential tremor may be more widespread than was found before. There hasn’t been many studies about this cognitive aspect of essential tremor, but there have been some that have proven positive correlation between essential tremor and cognitive function and decline. 

Essential tremor used to be categorized as a pure motor disease, but new studies have shown that essential tremor may cause cognitive dysfunction. Those over the age of 65 with essential tremor have a much higher risk for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cognitive changes and decline could be the byproduct of the dysfunction of essential tremor by itself. These have been associated with diseases like progressive supranuclear palsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. It has also been shown that essential tremor causes a faster rate of decline in cognitive impairment than those over 65 without essential tremor. They are also at a greater risk. 

Essential tremor has also included psychiatric symptoms and issues like depression, anxiety, personality changes, social phobias, and low measures of subjective health status or health-related quality of life. Some studies have shown that as many as 30 percent of patients with essential tremor have mild depressive symptoms. 

There are many potential functional issues associated with cognitive impairment. Cognitive deficits in essential tremor definitely seem to be functionally impairing. This was supported by many studies done over years of work and research. In one study, patients with essential tremor were found to have deficits on tests of verbal fluency, naming, memory (verbal and working), as well as depression. The severity of the tremor did not correlate with the extensiveness of the deficit at all. 

If there are concerns about cognitive decline, physicians can track the clinical cognitive function of the patient to make sure that they fully understand what is going on within the patient. There are neuroimaging methods that have been used to support the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease and provide more information into what condition the patient has and what they are suffering from. There are also many medicinal treatment options that may improve outlook for a patient as far as cognitive effects from essential tremor go. There is no cure, but symptoms can be improved. 

After consulting a physician about potential decline and being screened, there are many treatment options that can be considered. Besides medicinal treatments, natural remedies may help slow decline. There hasn’t been a cure that has been found to cure mental decline or completely prevent it from happening completely, but symptoms can be improved just like with essential tremors. The correct choice of healthy diet, exercise and natural remedies can truly change the function of an individual. Things that help manage essential tremor may also help manage the cognitive side of things. A balanced diet with low impact exercise, stress relief treatments, avoiding caffeine, and other things can help.