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Table of Contents
Vol. 46, No. 1, 2000
Issue release date: January – February
Section title: Clinical Section
Gerontology 2000;46:12–16
(DOI:10.1159/000022127)

Senile Tremor

What Is the Prevalence and Severity of Tremor in Older Adults?

Louis E.D.a,b · Wendt K.J.b · Ford B.a
aDepartment of Neurology and bGertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, N.Y., USA

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section

Published online: December 13, 1999
Issue release date: January – February

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

Abstract

Background/Setting: It is well recognized that mild tremor is common among older adults, but the prevalence and clinical characteristics of this tremor have not been studied in detail. Objectives: To examine a cohort of normal older adults to: (1) ascertain the prevalence of mild test-detectible tremor; (2) quantify the severity and functional impact of this tremor, and (3) determine whether age, gender and concomitant illness predict the severity of tremor. Participants: 76 normal older adults >55 years of age (mean age = 73.7 years). Design: Healthy older adults were identified in a community-based case-control study of essential tremor in Washington Heights-Inwood, New York. All subjects underwent a medical interview and a videotaped neurological examination. The examination included six tests: arm extension, pouring water, drinking water, using a spoon, finger-to-nose movements, and drawing spirals with each arm. Two neurologists rated the severity of tremor using a 0 to +3 clinical rating scale and a total tremor score (TTS) was calculated (range = 0–36). Forward stepwise linear regression was used to determine the association between TTS and other variables. Results: Virtually all (75 or 98.7%) showed signs of tremor (TTS > 0.5). The mean TTS = 6.3 (range = 0–14.5), corresponding to a tremor that was either mild or intermittent. Twenty-eight of 76 (36.8%) received tremor ratings of +2 (clearly oscillatory tremor of moderate amplitude and usually present) during at least one of the six tests; a tremor rating of +2 was 2.1 times more likely to occur in the nondominant than in the dominant hand. Those who were aged 57–74 years had a lower mean TTS (5.8) than those aged 75–93 (6.8), but this was not significant. Only 2 patients (2.6%) answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘do you have uncontrollable shaking in your hands?’ None was taking medication to treat tremor. Gender, ethnicity, concomitant illness (diabetes, arthritis, heart disease), and medications were not associated with a higher TTS. Conclusion: Mild but test-detectible tremor was present in almost all normal older adults, and in one-third this tremor attained a moderate amplitude during at least one activity. Characterization of this tremor would be of value to practitioners who care for older adults.

© 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section

Published online: December 13, 1999
Issue release date: January – February

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER


Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.