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What's that shaking? Tremor symptoms now distinguishable from Parkinson's

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[March 30, 2012]  The U.S. House of Representatives declared March to be National Essential Tremor Awareness Month. An estimated 10 million people in the United States have essential tremor, or ET, a neurological condition that causes shaking of the head, hands or voice.

ET is not life-threatening, but it is a serious and progressive condition that can significantly affect a person's quality of life. People with ET often have difficulty with everyday activities, such as eating, drinking, writing and speaking. As a result, they often experience embarrassment and withdraw socially, professionally and emotionally.

Since some of the symptoms are similar, ET is sometimes mistaken for Parkinson's disease, but recent research has concluded that ET does not lead to Parkinson's. ET is also known as familial tremor, since it is believed to be genetic and often appears in several members of the same family.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of ET, consult your family physician or a neurologist for diagnosis. There are medications that reduce the symptoms in many patients, and for extreme cases, a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation is now being performed regularly in Springfield.

For additional information, visit the website of the International Essential Tremor Foundation at www.essentialtremor.org or call toll-free 888-387-3667. If you are interested in communicating with someone locally who has been diagnosed with ET, you are welcome to contact Lincoln resident Alan Kline at nala5491@yahoo.com.

[Text from news release received from Alan Kline]

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