Essential Tremor in a Brain MRI

August 25, 2018

Among all movement disorders, essential tremor is one of the most common. Up to 5 percent of people over the age of 65 years cope with essential tremor everyday. The exact clinical definition is still under debate because of the variations and the unknown cause and cure to the disease. There is an error margin of 37 percent of false-positives. Neuroimaging techniques like MRI may lower this margin of error by gaining extra insight into the underlying brain pathology and could be used as a very valid diagnostic tool. 

Essential tremor is believed to be and studied as a disease of the central nervous system. Because of this, essential tremor in a brain MRI should show significant differences and details that can be used to determine cause and treatment options. Neuroimaging is a quickly growing field with lots of benefits that will help research and diagnostics. The exact part that neuroimaging will play in diagnosing and treating essential tremor is unclear, but different imaging techniques have been found to be more and less effective when looking at essential tremor in a brain MRI. 

Neuroimaging techniques in essential tremor give insight to the pathophysiology of essential tremor and indicate the involvement of the cerebellum as the most consistent finding. After many different neuroimaging studies, there were inconsistencies found. This could be because of heterogeneous patient groups, and a need for a more in depth study with each technique. 

MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a very common form of neuroimaging technique. It is used to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body. MRI uses powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer to illustrate detailed pictures inside your body. An MRI of the brain looks for blood vessel damage, brain injury, cancer, and stroke. Because essential tremor may be stemmed from a brain injury, essential tremor in a brain MRI may show up in one of these forms. 

Because essential tremor may be familial and genetic, it may not be beneficial to look for essential tremor in a brain MRI. Imaging tests can be used to determine that there are no other brain problems that may indicate another reason for the tremors. Besides essential tremor, there can be lots of other conditions and factors to why you are having tremor symptoms. There may even be a medication that you are taking that is the source of tremors. 

Overall, neuroimaging techniques such as MRI have grown dramatically in the past few years. Neuroimaging will be a great way to learn more about essential tremor, but may not be the best way to diagnose it. An MRI may be used when working to find your tremor cause, because the MRI may find evidence of another condition that is not essential tremor. Essential tremor in a brain MRI may not show up, but the lack of evidence will help diagnose your condition. For more information about MRI’s and the options you have in your diagnosis, talk to a medical professional. 


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