• Open Access

Psychogenic palatal tremor may be underrecognized: Reappraisal of a large series of cases§

Authors

  • Maria Stamelou MD, PhD,

    1. Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
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    • Dr. Stamelou and Dr. Saifee contributed equally to this work.

  • Tabish A. Saifee MD,

    1. Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
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    • Dr. Stamelou and Dr. Saifee contributed equally to this work.

  • Mark J. Edwards MD, PhD,

    1. Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
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  • Kailash P. Bhatia FRCP

    Corresponding author
    1. Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
    • Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, United Kingdom
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  • Funding: Dr. Stamelou is supported by an EFNS scientific grant. Dr. Edwards is supported by an NIHR Clinician Scientist Fellowship.

    Dr. Saifee is supported by an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship. The work was performed at UCLH/UCL, which received a proportion of funding from the Department of Health's NIHR Biomedical Research Centres funding scheme.

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • §

    Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

Abstract

Background:

Palatal tremor is characterized by rhythmic movements of the soft palate and can be essential or symptomatic. Some patients can have palatal movements as a special skill or due to palatal tics. Psychogenic palatal tremor is recognized but rarely reported in the literature.

Methods:

We retrospectively evaluated all patients with palatal tremor seen in our center over a period of 10 years.

Results:

Of 17 patients with palatal tremor, we identified 10 patients with isolated palatal tremor. In 70% of those the diagnosis of psychogenic palatal tremor could be made. Of the remainder, 2 had palatal tics and 1 essential palatal tremor.

Conclusions:

We suggest that psychogenic palatal tremor may be underrecognized and propose that targeted clinical examination of positive signs for psychogenic movement disorders in these patients is essential. The correct identification of such patients has important clinical and scientific implications. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society

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