Three Times Increased Risk of Dementia in Patients with Essential Tremor: Study

Study found link between essential tremor and risk of dementiaNew research unveiled today, March 6, 2024, suggests that individuals with essential tremor, a condition causing involuntary shaking, might face a higher risk of dementia compared to the general population. This study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 76th Annual Meeting from April 13 to April 18, 2024, both in Denver and online.

Essential tremor stands as the most prevalent tremor disorder, surpassing even Parkinson’s disease in frequency. Besides trembling in the arms and hands, those affected might also experience involuntary head, jaw, and voice shaking.


Dr. Elan D. Louis, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and an American Academy of Neurology Fellow, explained that many individuals with essential tremors may only experience mild shaking. He further noted that it could significantly impact some daily activities like writing and eating. He added that their research suggests that along with these tremors, there’s an increased likelihood of developing dementia.

The study observed 222 individuals with essential tremors, averaging 79 years old at the study’s commencement. Cognitive assessments were conducted initially to gauge their cognitive status—whether normal, mildly impaired, or with dementia.

For approximately five years, participants underwent follow-up assessments every 1.5 years. At the study’s onset, 168 individuals had normal cognitive abilities, 35 exhibited mild cognitive impairment, and 19 had dementia.

Throughout the study, 59 participants developed mild cognitive impairment, and 41 developed dementia. By comparing these rates and prevalences to both the general population and individuals with Parkinson’s disease, researchers discovered that the likelihood of developing dementia among participants was three times higher than that of the general population. However, it was lower compared to those with Parkinson’s disease, a group where dementia is more prevalent.


Moreover, during the study period, 27% of participants either had or developed mild cognitive impairment—a rate nearly double that of the general population but less than that observed in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Louis noted that while most individuals with essential tremor won’t develop dementia, their findings underscore the importance for physicians to inform those with essential tremor and their families about the increased risk and potential lifestyle adjustments that may follow this diagnosis.

One limitation of the study was that the comparison data for the general population had been published before the study’s initiation.

Author Bio

Devon Andre has been involved in the health and dietary supplement industry for a number of years. Devon has written extensively for Bel Marra Health. He has a Bachelor of Forensic Science from the University of Windsor, and went on to complete a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Devon is keenly aware of trends and new developments in the area of health and wellness. He embraces an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices. By working to inform readers of the options available to them, he hopes to improve their health and quality of life.