As you all know I spend a lot of time doing research into Essential Tremor and came across an article tonight which is really making my blood boil. I am extremely angry that our condition is relegated, yet again, to something to be ashamed of. I found a blog on the internet which has links to a new study, carried out by Spanish Researchers, into E.T.
The blog starts of by saying 'Drinking 3 or 4 alcoholic drinks a day can double the risk of developing Essential Tremor or 'the shakes' in old age'. The blog then has a link to another website which has a condensed version of the study - with the reading material being minimalistic to say the least. The author of the blog then states the study actually shows that even 1 or 2 drinks per day can increase the risk of developing Essential Tremor by 30% ( I guess the whole population of Russia, Poland, France, Italy (and Scotland ) will all have developed Essential Tremor by the time they are 30 then)
Children develop Essential Tremor and have a 50% chance of inheriting it from a parent who has the faulty gene (I have had it from at least the age of 6 according to stories my mum has told me and my son, Marc, also has it) Social drinkers have it as do total abstainers - what a load of twaddle from the researchers. The findings are completely disregarding the hereditary factor (children have a 50% chance of inheriting it from a parent with E.T. ) and also the numerous studies done on the Iowa Kindred - http://www.essentialtremorinfo.com/cause.htm
According to findings from the blog/Spanish research we have a tremor because of alcohol!!! - From the many emails and posts on my site we are no different from the general population - Some are alcohol dependant, some like a drink, some drink to excess, some have never touched alcohol and some tried it but hated the taste so never did it again
As of yet I can't find the actual report to study in detail but I am furious that, yet again, our condition has been demeaned in such a way. Nobody would dare laugh at anyone suffering from Parkinson's, because it is a recognised condition, and yet we have to undergo daily/weekly/monthly abuse because no-one is prepared to spend time actually looking into the cause of this debilitating condition.
Although my condition is well controlled by drugs and it is only occasionally I have a noticible tremor, I always tell anyone, who remarks on my tremor, 'it is very similair to Parkinson's' and I usually find that everyone will accept that explanation because they have heard of Parkinson's and so feel, at the least, that they have a rudimentary understanding of the condition .
It is a proven fact that alcohol minimises the tremor in those affected by Essential Tremor, but that does not mean that alcohol is the cause!
Doctors are not allowed to advocate alcohol as a means to control our tremor but when I was first diagnosed my doctor said ' you do know that alcohol will reduce the tremor' My response was that I couldn't drink from first thing in the morning so would rather have the drugs. On my bad days, even now, being on Beta Blockers, I still have days where I get out of bed and am so shaky I fall against the bedroom wall etc.
Even if alcohol does have a beneficial effect on some medical conditions, a patient who uses alcohol for that purpose might end up abusing the drug and requiring alcohol abuse treatment in the future.
From the little information I can manage to find the Spanish research team seem to think that Ethanol (pure alcohol) is the root cause of our problems. Why do researchers not look instead into why we are the only group of individuals whose tremor is actually lessened with Ethanol. Parkinson's tremor is not lessened by the use of alcohol, Dystonia is not lessened by the use of alcohol, M.S. is not lessened by the use of alcohol etc. etc.
Many people who have E.T. never, or very rarely, drink so why do we always get tarred with that same brush?
If I were a cynical person I would suggest it may be because researchers are paid a lot of money to come up with an answer to a problem and sometimes they take the easy option - i.e. Essential Tremor = Oh yes, alcohol stops the tremor temporarily = Oh yes, alcohol must be the cause.
I did try twice to post a reply but the blog is not accepting it for some reason???. I will paste my reply below, but meanwhile I also ask (beg) of anyone reading this to please try to leave a reply on the blog and also put a link to my site if you feel it has helped you in any way http://www.essentialtremorinfo.com/ .
UPDATE - One of our members, Richard W. Rogers, has managed to paste my reply onto the blog above
MY REPLY (which will not publish on the blog for some reason!!!)
While I do agree that drinking more than the recommended alcohol units can cause 'the shakes' in old age, I disagree with the findings that alcohol is the cause of Essential Tremor. Almost all of the visitors to my website have had signs of Essential Tremor from a very young age and so the theory of excessive alcohol consumption leading to Essential Tremor can not, in my opinion, be linked. I have met a few alcoholics who have 'the shakes' and the 'rhythmic' shaking associated with Essential Tremor is absent with the alcohol dependent individuals displaying more of a 'shivering' type shake .
I would also disagree that 'many' individuals self medicate by using alcohol to control the tremors and instead would suggest that 'some' individuals use alcohol as a means to stop the tremor.
To be honest, I feel that this study has seriously hampered any little hope Essential Tremor sufferers had of being accepted in society. We have all been ridiculed at some point in our lives and many of us have been accused of being alcoholics.
Over the time my website has been up and running I have received many personal emails, which were both sad and upsetting, from individuals who have become reclusive because of the humiliation suffered at the hands of misinformed members of society who assume anyone with a tremor is either an alcoholic or extremely nervous.
This study also doesn't take into account the extensive study on the Iowa Kindred. The Iowa Kindred are referred to as an 'extended family' who all either had Parkinson's or E.T. Post Mortem studies found that all members of the Iowa Kindred all had the same faulty gene, Park 4.
While Parkinson's is accepted as being a debilitating condition E.T. seems to be considered as being 'the poor man's Parkinson's' In my opinion, we have no hope of a cure ever being developed if this is an example of the research being done.