Follow the progress and learn more about Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies – the BRAIN Initiative – at www.nih.gov/science/brain/index.htm. This is an extremely important project because it accelerates our understanding of how the brain works. This in turn will help advance research that develops new interventions for conditions and diseases – like ET! The new tools and technologies that will be developed will lift all research to new levels and provide breakthroughs in the future that enable the development of better treatments and cures to be found.
It is sometimes difficult, even for a trained neurologist, to tell the difference between Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor when it is in the early stages, as they can share similar symptoms (such as resting tremor). A new Taiwan-based study investigated changes in brain volume in people with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease, searching for a pattern that might help differentiate between to the two conditions more easily.
The study found that although both ET and PD patients showed a decrease in brain volume in areas involved with movement and muscle control, it also showed increases in other distinct areas. Researchers speculate that this is due to the ability of the brain to compensate for damaged areas by developing and strengthening new pathways, thus increasing the size of those areas.
Although further study is needed, it appears that looking specifically at the areas of the brain that increase in volume, along with other diagnostic and assessment tools, may allow physicians to more accurately differentiate between ET and PD.
New! Functional Imaging of Tremor Circuits and Mechanisms of Treatment Response. The Laboratory for Functional Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disorders is conducting an NIH?sponsored study. Learn more.