IETF Funded Research
Essential tremor (ET) has no cure. And since there is no medication specifically designed for ET, people struggle to find effective treatment options. Some feel like any and all medications are thrown at them in an attempt to find something that might work. Anything that might work.
If only we understood the cause of ET, then new, tailored treatments could be developed. Cutting-edge researchers are ready to search for not only new but smarter treatment options in hopes of making even the simplest of life’s tasks easy again.
Each year researchers with an interest in studying the various aspects of essential tremor are encouraged to submit scientific proposals for grant funding from the IETF. To date, your research donations have provided more than $750,000 to fund numerous promising studies.
Your research donation could make the difference between critical research being funded, or being turned away. Every donation, no matter the size, counts. Help us keep research moving forward!
The Driving Need for Essential Tremor Research
By Ludy Shih, MD
As a clinician-investigator, Dr. Shih sees two things driving the need for essential tremor research: A) the need for more effective and better-tolerated medications for tremor, and B) the ways that the common clinical features of ET should lend us clues to the understanding of tremor.
2018 Funded Research
Optogenetic Interrogation of Cerebellar Circuitry of a Novel Mouse Model of Essential Tremor.
The major obstacle for the effective therapy development for essential tremor is the unclear brain structural alterations that leads to tremor. To overcome this obstacle, we have previously identified structural alterations in the cerebellum, the brain region important for motor coordination, in essential tremor patients. Now, we will determine how this brain pathology can lead to tremor by establishing a mouse model with similar pathological alterations in the cerebellum. We will use the novel neuroscience tools to specifically silence the neuronal activities within the cerebellum in this mouse model and we will assess how these manipulations can influence tremor. The results of our proposal will establish a new platform to screen therapies for essential tremor and will advance our knowledge of essential tremor.
A Pilot Study for Quantitative Assessment of Gait in Essential Tremor Using Wireless Sensors; Potential Diagnostic Tool and Measure of Progression
Although essential tremor (ET) is the most common tremor disorder, its diagnosis can be challenging, and misdiagnosis of ET is not uncommon. The most common movement disorder confused with essential tremor is tremor predominant Parkinson’s disease (PD). Dopamine transporter (DaT) scan is the only available diagnostic tool utilized in the differentiation of ET from PD. However, due to its expense and limited availability it is important to develop a relatively inexpensive tool that can easily and efficiently be utilized in clinical settings to aid in the accurate diagnosis of ET. With growing evidence of gait abnormalities in ET, studying quantitative gait measures may potentially aid in differentiating ET and PD. In this pilot study, we aim to quantitatively analyze gait and balance in the clinical setting using wireless sensors to determine if the gait abnormalities are present in early ET, and whether comparing various aspects of gait and balance can help to differentiate between ET and PD.
2017 Funded Research
Double-blind, Placebo-control, Cross-over Trial of Cannabidiol for Essential Tremor
The focus of this study is to collect the necessary data needed to determine whether further research is warranted to develop cannabidiol (CBD) as a viable tremor suppressant for essential tremor. Results obtained will provide the critical knowledge needed to request National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for a drug development program to pursue the shorter-term development of CBD for essential tremor and the longer-term development of similar yet more targeted novel agents.
Genome Wide Copy Number Variations and ET
Like many other common human diseases and traits, ET is known to cluster in families and it is believed to be influenced by several genetic and environmental factors. Overall genetic variants that are associated with, or are the cause of, ET have been sought for over a decade but the involvement of an emerging class of genetic variant that is collectively referred to as “Copy Number Variants” (CNVs) has not yet been properly examined in familial ET.
Elucidating the Roles of the Ca2+-activated Ion Channels in Essential Tremor
Essential tremor is a complex and progressive neurological disorder that affects more than1% in the general population and 5% in the population over 65 years. After many years’ efforts, we are only beginning to develop some limited understandings on the pathogenesis. Based on extensive animal and human patient studies, we now know that abnormal oscillatory activity of an interconnected brain network, called the cortico-olivo-cerebello-thalamic circuit, is a common feature of ET.