Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: The evolving understanding of essential tremors (ET) has led to a new definition of neurodegenerative disease, pointing to diffuse brain network involvement with a wide spectrum of associated motor and nonmotor symptoms. Considering the fact that white matter should also be affected by the nature of the disease, our study aimed to evaluate the integrity of white matter and its clinical correlations in ET patients. Materials and methods: Approximately 40 patients diagnosed with ET and 40 age-and sex-matched control subjects (ranging between 18-80 years old) were included in the study. The sociodemographic characteristics and clinical features of the patients were recorded. Tremors were assessed using the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale (FTM-TRS). Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) was performed to evaluate the integrity of white matter. The selected white matter regions used for DTI assessment were the corpus callosum (CC) (i.e., the largest commissural tract in the human brain), the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) (i.e., the largest association fiber bundles). Results: The mean age of the ET patients and control subjects was 44.23 ± 18.91 and 37.45 ± 10.95 years old (P = 0.542). The fractional anisotropy (FA) values of the CC body (P = 0.003), ILF (p = 0.016), average diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of the CC body (p = 0.001), genu (P = 0.049), SLF (V < 0.001), and ILF (P < 0.001) differed between groups. After controlling for age and sex, there was no correlation between tremor severity and DTI parameters, but impaired integrity in the genu of CC FA (P = 0.035, r = 0.442) and the splenium of CC ADC (P = 0.007, r = 0.543) were related with a longer duration of tremor. Finally, positive family history was correlated with the splenium of CC FA and ADC (P = 0.008, r = 0.536; P = 0.027, r = 0.461) and ILF ADC (P = 0.011, r = -0.519). Conclusion: In our study, major white matter structure changes were found in the ET patients. The results suggest that possible neurodegeneration also affects white matter structures in ET patients and that the duration of the tremor and family history are related with impaired integrity of white matter.


Essential tremor, white matter, neurodegeneration, diffusion tensor imaging, fractional anisotropy, average diffusion coefficient

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