Essential Tremor

This information is useful for adults and older adults
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Yale Medicine’s department of neurology has more research programs—and federal funds—focused specifically on tremor than any other institution worldwide.
  • We are launching the nation’s first center fully dedicated to the research and treatment of tremors drawing upon the expertise of specialists from various departments.
  • Treatment plans addresses not only the physical shaking, but also the lifestyle, social and other issues that can arise because of the tremor.

Essential tremor causes a person’s hands, head, voice or another part of the body to shake involuntarily. It’s a very common neurologic disorder, affecting 1 in 20 people over the age of 40 and as many as 1 in 5 people in their 90s. (In fact, three of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence are believed to have suffered from essential tremor!) While people with the condition used to believe that the symptoms just had to be endured, new therapies and treatments can help many patients reduce involuntary movements, so that they can regain independence and lead less encumbered lives.

“We think we’ve identified the part of the brain that causes this type of tremor,” says Dr. Elan D. Louis, chief of the Division of Movement Disorders at Yale Medicine. “Our understanding of this condition has really increased in recent years. We have medications and surgeries that can help.” Dr. Louis is now building the world’s first comprehensive tremor center at Yale Medicine. His goal is to synthesize research efforts and treatment efforts to advance our ability to help people with these conditions.