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Keywords:

  • tremor;
  • myoclonus;
  • epilepsy;
  • electrophysiology;
  • genetics

Abstract

Fifty Japanese and European families with cortical myoclonic tremor and epilepsy have been reported under various names. Unfamiliarity with the syndrome often leads to an initial misdiagnosis of essential tremor or progressive myoclonus epilepsy. A detailed overview of the literature is lacking and is the scope of this study. Disease characteristics are adult onset, distal action tremor and myoclonus, epileptic seizures, autosomal dominant inheritance, benign course, effectiveness of antiepileptic drugs, and possibly cognitive decline. A channelopathy is hypothesized to be the basis of the disease. Despite phenotypic and genetic differences between the Japanese and European pedigrees, the clinical and electrophysiological data point toward one syndrome. To avoid confusion in literature and possible misdiagnosis of patients, we propose to use one description and suggest “familial cortical myoclonic tremor with epilepsy” (FCMTE). In addition, we put forward diagnostic criteria to give a starting point from which to conduct genetic studies. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society