Cognitive functioning in individuals with "benign" essential tremor

Laura H. Lacritz, Richard Dewey, Cole A. Giller, C. Munro Cullum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Essential tremor (ET) is the most common type of movement disorder, although its etiology and neurophysiological substrates remain unclear. While thought to be a benign condition, it has yet to be studied from a neuropsychological perspective. We examined the neurocognitive functioning of 13 nondemented subjects with severe ET, including aspects of memory, cognitive flexibility, and attention. Results revealed that 12/13 subjects demonstrated impairment on 1 or more cognitive measures in comparison with published normative data. The pattern of findings was suggestive of relative dysfunction of frontal-mediated processes not unlike that seen in Parkinson's disease. These deficits were found in subjects irrespective of the presence of cognitive complaints, depression, or the existence of other potential neurocognitive risk factors. These findings suggest that mild cognitive deficits are not uncommon in association with severe ET and may be related to subcortical systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-129
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive functioning
  • Essential tremor
  • Movement disorders
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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