Mindfulness & ET

When medical or surgical therapy has not controlled all of the symptoms of essential tremor, some people have found that focused breathing and meditation are effective practices for calming the mind and body. In the cover story of our most recent Tremor Talk magazine, Dr. Monique Giroux writes that employing such mindfulness strategies can reduce the negative impact of stress and sharpen the mind’s potential for personal healing.

Dr. Giroux is co-founder of the Movement and Neuroperformance Center of Colorado in Englewood, Colo., and medical director of movement disorders for Swedish Medical Center.

“It is a way to stay in the present moment, engaging in life and living life as fully as you can,” she says. “Mindfulness can be a helpful tool to enhance the effect of medicine and surgery on tremor control. The next time your tremor feels ‘out of control,’ take a moment to reflect, and know that you have control in how you respond.”

Is mindfulness part of your regimen to regulate ET’s impact on your life? What has your personal experience been? Please share: inquiring minds want to know!

Coping with the challenges of ET can be difficult for children

Essential tremor affects people of all ages. For children, tweens, and teenagers, the challenges of living with ET can include difficulty performing school activities such as writing, typing, or drawing. Meal times at school may be stressful, and because they don’t understand ET, peers may make hurtful comments—intentionally or not.

If you are a young person, or the parent of a young person with ET, we’d love to hear from you here. Consider this a place to begin connecting with others like you. Ultimately, such connections should lead to greater understanding, a wider support network, and opportunities to share advice with other young people and their parents.

To get the ball rolling, we’ll share the insight of IETF Facebook page friend Kathryn Suzanne, who says her young child with ET has enjoyed using rock crayons because they’re easier to grip and control than traditional stick crayons.

 

Assistive device query spurs terrific IETF Facebook thread

The IETF’s Facebook friends are quite active and talkative. Recently, we posed the question “What assistive device have you found to be the most helpful when dealing with your essential tremor?” In just a few hours, the post had accumulated more than 70 replies.

Responses went beyond what we might consider “assistive devices” in the tangible sense, mentioning medications, alternative medicine, diet, and other areas of interest for the ET community. Many of the postings underscore or expand on ideas presented in the coping tips section of the IETF website.

We’re just delighted to see so much dialogue in the ET community, with so many positive thoughts shared. So what insights and additions might you contribute to this conversation?

Movement Disorders Neurologists Named to Best Doctors List

Congratulations to Drs. Maureen Leehey and Olga Klepitskaya who have been named two of the Best Doctors in America for 2013. This is the first time that Dr. Klepitskaya has earned the honor and the third time for Dr. Leehey. To learn more about the Best Doctors list go to www.bestdoctors.com and to obtain information about making an appointment, go to http://www.essentialtremor.org/siteresources/apps/physicians/

 

Kitchen Assistance

A few days ago, I received a call from an ET patient who has been having problems cutting herself when using sharp knives in the kitchen. At the time, I was at a loss for helpful suggestions. Since then, I did a bit of searching on our very own website! Under Assistive Devices, there is a link to Elder Store, http://www.elderstore.com/adaptive-eating-utensils. They have several serrated rocker knives listed which should provide some help in preparing meals. If you have any other helpful kitchen hints, please let us know.

The IETF is Coming to Houston

IETF Seminar - San DiegoEach year the IETF’s Executive Director travels throughout the U.S. facilitating educational seminars about the diagnosis process and treatment options for essential tremor. The Foundation is happy to be able to bring movement disorder specialists and essential tremor patients together to learn more about ET.

On Saturday, March 23rd, the IETF will be in Houston, TX. Drs. Thenganatt and Fenoy are extremely knowledgeable and have lots of good information to share. At the end of the seminar, attendees will even be able to ask the physicians questions, during a Q&A session.

For more information on this or any of the IETF’s other events, please visit our calendar of events or our Free Seminars webpage. There is limited space, so register today!

Downey CA ET Patient Seminar

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehab CtrCome join me in Downey, CA on Saturday, February 2, 2013 where I will be working with Drs. Hui and Liker to bring you another free seminar to learn more about the diagnosis process and treatment for essential tremor. The last event in the area was cancelled because registrations were too low, but we are hoping that the timing of this event will be better for everyone, so get registered today! I look forward to meeting so many of you.

Both physicians are extremely knowledgeable and you will definitely learn a lot. It’s also an opportunity for you to receive free educational materials and get a chance to ask questions. Please join me and others with ET for a half day of education and some free refreshments.  Please register today!

DBS Surgery Treats Violinist’s Tremor

NBC News – Los Angeles
Roger’s passion is the violin, but a neurological disorder called essential tremor (ET) makes it nearly impossible to play. To steady his hands, Roger underwent brain surgery for a procedure called deep brain stimulation that allowed him to play the violin while doctors fired signals into his brain to target the tremors.

To learn more about deep brain stimulation and other treatment for essential tremor, visit http://www.essentialtremor.org/Surgical-Treatments

Touch Screen Interaction and Essential Tremor

Recently, Rebecca posted on the topic of Accessibility and the Smart Phone and how “touch and swipe” technology on smart phones affects how people with essential tremor (ET) use such devices.

Today, I saw an article about a new developing technology by Qeexo called FingerSense and TapSense that may or may not make smart phones easier depending on the degree of ET severity. Researcher Chris Harrison invented software that expands interaction on smart phones from simple touch to also recognize different kinds of taps. FingerSense technology allows screens to know how the finger is being used for input: fingertip, knuckle or nail.

FingerSense Overview | Qeexo.com from Qeexo on Vimeo.

This refined level of touch on screens may present a challenge for people with ET, if this technology is incorporated into devices.

According to an article in Fast Company, Harrison’s team is in talks with Android handset manufacturers to integrate FingerSense into their phones. FingerSense requires an extra bit of hardware in order to work–an acoustic sensor that can recognize the unique vibration patterns that distinguish among fingertip, fingernail, and knuckle taps. Which means you can’t just download FingerSense from Google Play and magically give your Galaxy Nexus a next-generation user interface–yet.

“We are looking to partner with device makers to integrate this sensor, which our software needs,” Harrison explains.

FingerSense’s two-handed touch screen input gestures seem much more useful for tablets,where two-handed interaction seems likely and practical especially for people with ET.