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 Essential Tremor

What is Essential Tremor (ET)?

Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes rhythmic shaking of the hands, head, voice, and/or legs. This is the most common form of tremor. The tremor with essential tremor is mostly noticed when doing things and especially when trying to concentrate on a focused task. This is different than the “resting” tremor that is seen in Parkinson’s disease, and this is commonly described as tremor occurring when the body part is at complete rest.

The shaking of essential tremor can sometimes be mild without causing trouble, but when severe it can impair a person’s ability to do simple tasks such as eating, drinking and writing. In some instances the tremor minimally worsens with time, but in others it can increase and impact quality of life and cause considerable disability.

Though there is no cure, when the tremor is problematic there are medications that can be used to help lessen the degree of tremor which is effective for most people. When medications aren’t effective or side effects from medications are significant, there are other treatment possibilities.

Treatment for Essential Tremor

The Ohio State University Medical Center is a leading center for performing deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment of essential tremor and other neurological conditions. DBS is considered a treatment when patients with ET have limited or no significant benefit from medications and/or experience side effects from medications. DBS is also known as a brain pacemaker. The implanted device delivers tiny electrical signals that calm abnormal brain signals to alleviate the symptoms of Essential Tremor and improve quality of life.

Why Choose the Center for Neuromodulation at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?

  • Ohio State provides a leading-edge surgical procedure for patients with essential tremor. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an implanted device that helps to alleviate symptoms and restore function to patients with essential tremor.
  • Our DBS team includes physicians from our nationally ranked Neurology and Neurosurgery programs. U.S.News & World Report ranks these programs among the best in the nation. Our team of specialists including neurosurgeons, psychiatrists and psychologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, as well as our nurses, physician assistants and patient coordinators, work together to ensure best possible patient outcomes.
  • In addition, Ohio State is conducting advanced research that will further improve treatment of movement disorders such as ET.
  • Our successful DBS program is due, in part, to the strong multidisciplinary teamwork and collaboration among our neurosurgeons, movement disorder neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, as well as our nurses, physician assistants and patient coordinators. This teamwork and our comprehensive evaluations ensure optimal selection of surgical candidates and enable us to make the best choices for patient outcomes.
  • Ali Rezai, MD, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and neuromodulation specialist, is the director of the Center for Neuromodulation. Dr. Rezai is an internationally recognized DBS surgeon who has performed more than 1,600 DBS surgeries and thousands more neuromodulation procedures. Dr. Rezai and his work have been highlighted on the popular CBS news program "60 Minutes" and the PBS series "Wired Science."

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