Research Brings Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow, and World Without Essential Tremor

We sometimes take for granted the vast history of medical research and its impact on human ailments and diseases. Most people have heard of polio and tuberculosis, which today are easily preventable with a vaccine. Organ transplants extend life for many and the pacemaker regulates the heart’s rhythm for people with irregular heartbeats. Physicians can remove cataracts and cancerous tumors, and use artificial insemination to help couples conceive.  And surgical options for essential tremor (ET), including focused ultrasound and deep brain stimulation, have enhanced the quality of life for thousands. None of these would be possible without medical research.

The International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF) knows through continued medical research, there will one day be improved treatments and possibly a cure for essential tremor. So each year, we continue to fund research projects to address the nosology, etiology, pathogenesis and other topics relevant to essential tremor. Through promoting and awarding research grants, we also know we can stimulate inquiry into essential tremor (ET) by leading scientists.

IETF Research Appeal Graphic 2019

July is a time when we focus on essential tremor research and work to raise money for research grants. Since 2001, the IETF has dedicated more than $800,000 toward essential tremor research and we are not done yet.

This year, we presented a $25,000 research grant to Dr. Adrian Handforth with The Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. His research project is titled, Evaluation of an a6ßy2 GABA Receptor-Specific Drug as Potential Therapy. It will explore the potential of developing a drug that mimics how low doses of alcohol can suppress the effects of tremor, but with more selectivity of molecular targets to try to avoid adverse effects found with other medications used for management of essential tremor.

Please consider supporting our “Shine a Light on Essential Tremor Research Campaign” this month. Watch for a special letter in your mailbox outlining how you can help. Or go online and make a donation.

Research provides hope for all of us, and means a better and brighter future for the next generation. Perhaps our scholarship recipient, Deirdre, summarized it best when she said:

New and ongoing research for ET gives hope to us young people. Even though our conditions may worsen over time, there are also so many ways that modern medicine can help us live our lives normally and we all need to work toward that goal together.”

2 thoughts on “Research Brings Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow, and World Without Essential Tremor

  1. Might I suggest that in talking with others, we have strongly felt that an excellent way to raise money for research and bring ET to the attention of the public would be to find a celebrity spokesperson who has this condition and could bring our plight to the light. So few know of this. Many ask me if I have Parkinson’s Disease. This is sad when you realize that ET is 8 times more prevalent than Parkinson’s and surely due to the efforts of Michael J Fox. Does the IETF have anyone searching on the east or west coast looking for a person that would fit this mold? Has IETF ever thought of moving their headquarters to LA or NYC where they would get more exposure?

    • Essential tremor is eight times more COMMON than Parkinson’s; it’s not about awareness of the condition, it’s about the number of people diagnosed. More than 10 million people in the US have ET. Thank you for your suggestion about a spokesperson. Like many other caused-based organizations, the IETF has of course thought of this. And over the years we have reached out to individuals who could be a voice (even the past two years). To date, no one has wanted ET as their platform, but we will continue to pursue it. Is there someone you would suggest? Katharine Hepburn was possibly one of the more famous individuals who had ET. She did not want to talk about it, and her family also did not want to get involved in talking about it after her death. Many have said that Bill Clinton has ET, but he has not confirmed it nor has he responded to us when we have reached out. That being said, it costs thousands of dollars to acquire a spokesperson. Many may think that individuals would do this for free, but even the rich and famous require payment for this type of work. These are all obstacles. Our office is based in the Kansas City area because the founder, the late Dr. Koller, was with the University of Kansas Medical Center and we still have a strong relationship with the university. An east coast or west coast office would increase our overhead significantly and we would rather our dollars go toward programs and research to help people with essential tremor. We have a small office with only three employees and we have been in existence for 30 years.

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