IETF Funded Research 2006

Two rare HS1BP3 gene variants have been found more frequently in Americans with familial ET than in persons with non-familial ET or without ET, according to “Analysis of Candidate Genes for Familial Essential Tremor.”

The important study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Joseph J. Higgins at the Center for Human Genetics and Child Neurology at the Mid-Hudson Family Health Institute in New Paltz, NY. The IETF is funding the study through a grant from the W. Carroll Beatty and Thelma D. Beatty Bequest.

According to Dr. Higgins, it is possible that ET is not caused by a single genetic variant as is currently believed. Rather, ET is a “complex disorder that involves several genes.” He further points out “it is unclear if these genetic variants actually cause ET, or, as in many other common human disorders, it is an interaction between these variants and other genes and the environment that is the cause.”

HS1BP3 variations are believed to affect dopamine metabolism, according to Dr. Higgins.

These research findings, he adds, are “an exciting advance toward designing treatments for ET. In the future, the hope is to implement therapeutic interventions before the appearance of symptoms to partly or completely prevent ET.”