AZ Brain Bank Feasibility Study

This grant was for a feasibility study to determine if an Essential Tremor Brain Bank at the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders: a joint project between Banner Sun Health Research Institute and Mayo Clinic Arizona, would be possible.

Dr. Holly Shill, Director, Christopher Center for Parkinson Research, Sun City, Arizona and Charles H. Adler, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, co-principle investigator and will oversee all clinical aspects of the proposal have been given funding to add additional cases of ET into its longitudinal study.  The purpose of this project is two-fold.

The first is to better understand cognitive functioning in ET. As some studies suggest an increase in dementia in patients with ET, especially in elderly ET, it is important to look at this systematically. The ASAND program has been doing this for years as we examine all subjects enrolled for both movement disorders, such as tremor and parkinsonism, and cognitive disorders, such as dementia. In this way, all ET subjects can be compared to our very large elderly control population. Other non-motor issues, such as sleep and mood, are also examined.

The second goal is to begin to look at differences between ET which starts before age 65 and ET that starts after age 65. This is important because some have postulated that there might be different types of ET depending on family history and age of onset. As the majority of our current ET group had ET starting after age 65, the funding will allow us to enroll a number of ET patients who are currently > age 75 but have had ET since they were < age 65. Most importantly, all subjects enrolled in ASAND must continue to be followed annually until the time of death and must agree to be autopsied.  After death, the brain will be examined for changes that may be associated with ET with several brain regions already being explored. In order to keep costs down and the quality of tissue high, this study is restricted to individuals who reside in Maricopa County, AZ.