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Essential tremor patient regains independence following surgery
Date:3/26/2012

CHICAGO For nearly 30 years, Tom Rogers' left hand would shake when he tried to use it, making even simple tasks such as drinking a glass of water, writing a check, or making a sandwich challenging. The tremor eventually became so disruptive that he lost use of his dominant hand. Rogers sought care and learned that his tremor was a symptom of Parkinson's disease, yet felt he was suffering from something different.

"I was familiar with Parkinson's because my father had it and I knew this wasn't the same," said Rogers, a 66-year-old retired truck driver who resides in Oswego, Ill. "It was exactly the opposite of my dad's tremor which would start when he was still or relaxed. My hand would shake when I had something in it or tried to use it."

Also convinced that her husband was suffering from something other than Parkinson's, Pam Rogers began searching the internet. Through her research the couple learned about another movement disorder called essential tremor and found their way to Northwestern's Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center. Northwestern Medicine movement disorder specialists diagnosed Rogers with essential tremor, a neurological disorder that causes shaking in the hands, head, voice and occasionally the legs and trunk. An estimated 10 million Americans have essential tremor making it eight times more prevalent than Parkinson's, yet the two are often confused.

"Essential tremor is not a life-threatening disease, but it worsens over time and can be very debilitating," explained Joshua Rosenow, MD, director of functional neurosurgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor of neurosurgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Severe cases can profoundly impact a person's quality of life and limit the ability to function independently. As the condition progresses, it becomes more challenging for these patients to eat, feed themselves, write or drive. Some even become too fr
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Contact: Megan McCann
memccann@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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