Effect of ethanol on the central oscillator in essential tremor

Authors

  • Kirsten E. Zeuner MD,

    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Fiona M. Molloy MD,

    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Richard O. Shoge,

    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Susanne R. Goldstein MD,

    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Robert Wesley PhD,

    1. Biostatistics Service, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Mark Hallett MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
    • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Human Motor Control Section, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 5N226, 10 Center Drive MSC1428, Bethesda, MD 20892-1428
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  • This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Abstract

We investigated the effects of ethanol and diazepam on the central, mechanical, and mechanical reflex components of tremor in patients with essential tremor (ET). A double-blind crossover study (ethanol or diazepam) was conducted on 2 separate days. Dose of ethanol or diazepam was calculated in each individual according to height, weight, and age in 10 patients with ET. The postural tremor amplitude at the wrist was recorded using a three-dimensional accelerometer placed on the dorsum of the hand. Electromyogram (EMG) was recorded with surface electrodes placed on the forearm extensors and flexors. To separate central and mechanical (reflex) components, a 500-g weight was placed on the dorsum of the hand during a second tremor measurement. Tremor recordings were done at baseline and 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes after drug ingestion. Ethanol and diazepam blood levels were measured at baseline and after 20, 40, 80, and 120 minutes. Blood ethanol and diazepam levels were highest after 40 and 80 minutes. The amplitude of the central component 60 minutes after ingestion of ethanol was decreased significantly (P = 0.029) compared with diazepam. Our findings suggest that the improvement in tremor after ethanol ingestion was due, at least in part, to an effect on a central oscillator. © 2003 Movement Disorder Society

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