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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson`s disease and essential tremor

05/18/1999

Question:

I have a friend who experiences tremors and has said to me he suffers from a "type" of Parkinson`s disease. Are there different types? He also is 28 years old and is currently taking Propranol. Isn`t Parkinson`s a disease that effects older individuals?

Answer:

The typical patient with Parkinson`s disease is between 55-65 years old. However, it can occur in people much older or much younger. I myself, follow two patients who are younger than 30 years of age and who have definite Parkinson`s disease. `Young-onset` and `Juvenile` PD is well reported in the literature. However, Essential Tremor is another cause of tremors, probably about 5 times more common than PD. If that is what your friend has, then propranolol may be an excellent treatment. If this, and other medications such as Mysoline and Neurontin fail to help him, newer surgical methods such as the use of deep brain stimulation may be very helpful.

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Response by:

Arif Dalvi, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati