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World Health Organization Answers International Essential Tremor Foundation Call for New Classification

Lenexa, Kansas (PRWEB) December 03, 2012

Essential tremor (ET), a neurological condition that affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S., now has a specific classification with important ramifications for patients and healthcare providers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has given validation to millions of people in the U.S. diagnosed with essential tremor when the International Statistical Classification of Disease and Related Health Problems (ICD) code book was updated to the 10th edition. What was once coded and known by the healthcare community as a nonspecific tremor (333.1) or nonparkinsonian tremor now has a name and a code.

ET is very frequently misdiagnosed as Parkinsons disease. The condition is often characterized by rhythmic, involuntary and uncontrollable shaking of the hands and arms during movement, but it sometimes can also affect the head, voice, legs and trunk. This serious and progressive condition can significantly affect a persons quality of life socially, professionally and emotionally.

For the ET community, this designation means that essential tremor is recognized as a separate neurological condition that is classified and separate from other tremor disorders, says Catherine S. Rice, Executive Director of the International Essential Tremor Foundation.

Despite the high prevalence of ET, estimated at 46% among persons aged 65 and older, until now, there was no ICD-9-CM diagnostic code that is specific for ET, says Dr. Elan Louis, Department of Neurology, Columbia University, referring to the code system in the 9th edition of the code book.

The 10th edition ushers in, for the first time, a specific diagnostic code for ET. For the ET community, including patients, patient advocacy groups, physicians, and researchers, this is an important step that has implications in terms of research, clinical care, and public health, says. Dr. Louis.

For research, patients can be better ascertained from clinical care databases and billing data bases. A disease-specific code may be queried and cases may then be easily identified. The lack of a specific code for ET has been a barrier in this regard.

Prior to this classification, the medical community could not code essential tremor as a diagnosis all to itself. It was lumped in with other nonspecified conditions. Rice says, We considered this yet again another sign of indifference for a person diagnosed with essential tremor because their medical condition could not be properly classified by the medical community.

In clinical settings, ICD codes are universally applied across the country, thereby helping physicians to define the exact medical problem of a patient, anywhere in the country. The codes are necessary for patients filing insurance claims. Clinical trials would benefit from the ability to more accurately identify a patient sample, based on a more precise diagnostic code. Similarly, for clinical researchers and pharmaceutical companies, the usage patterns of specific medications may more easily be tracked in ET patients through computer linkage to pharmacy records.

Clearly, essential tremor is now recognized as a valid neurological condition that is viable, specific and respectable. This is a huge step forward in the fight to increase awareness not only with the public but with everyone in the healthcare community, says Rice. And it also provides a way of tracking the incidence and mortality rates so appropriate statistical information can be gathered.

But our job is not over and in many ways it intensifies. We must keep the pressure on continue to demand and expect that essential tremor as a neurological condition be given the respect it deserves and that it no longer be diminished as a nonspecific condition in the eyes of the healthcare community, says Rice. We must continue to make sure that people are not ignored or disrespected and that they be given as much courtesy and consideration as others who have other medical conditions. People diagnosed with essential tremor deserve so much more; access to better treatments, greater awareness of the condition and its effects and the funding of more research. This is a grand step in the right direction but by no means, the last.

About The International Essential Tremor Foundation:

Headquartered in Lenexa, Kan., and founded in 1988, the International Essential Tremor Foundation is the leading organization in the world dedicated to helping those affected by essential tremor. The IETF funds research to find the cause of essential tremor (ET) that leads to a treatment and cure, increases awareness, and provides educational materials, tools, and support for healthcare providers, the public, and those affected by ET.

Since its inception, the IETF has distributed more than $ 600,000 in research grants to fund 24 promising ET research studies. To learn more about essential tremor, visit


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International Essential Tremor Foundation Supports Bishop Kelly Student Engineering Teams Development of ET Tools

Lenexa, KS (PRWEB) March 07, 2012

The International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF) has donated funds to help underwrite travel expenses for the Bishop Kelly High Schools Engineering Design team, based in Boise, Idaho, when they participate in the 2011-2012 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam program at the EurekaFest held at MIT in Boston. The student team is developing two tools that may one day assist people with essential tremor (ET).

Essential tremor (ET), a neurological condition that causes shaking of the head, hands and voice, is the most common movement disorder estimated to affect 10 million people in the U.S.

Each year the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Program awards grants to teams of high school engineering students. Thirteen Bishop Kelly students and two advisors, Dr. Guy Hudson and Dr. Lawrence Neznanski, comprise one of sixteen InvenTeams nationwide chosen for the exclusive opportunity to participate in the program. Each team receives grants up to $ 10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their choosing.

The Bishop Kelly InvenTeam chose to develop magnetic assistive devices for people with tremor in their hands and arms, due to ET, Parkinsons disease, or injury, says Dr. Hudson.

MagWrite 2.0 is a device to help those with various types of tremor write more legibly. MagMouse is designed to work with a wireless computer mouse to lessen the effects of tremors while using a computer. This project consists of a nine-month process of designing and testing, followed by a debut of the finished prototype in June 2012 at EurekaFest.

The IETF is proud to support high school students gaining valuable skills in an educational program in service of a project that may one day benefit those with essential tremor, says Catherine Rice, Executive Director of the Foundation.

For more information about the IETF and ET, please contact Executive Director Catherine Rice. For information about the competition and team, please contact advisor Guy F. Hudson, Ph.D., Science Chairperson, Chemistry and Engineering Design Teacher and 2011-2012 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Coach at (208)375-6010.

About: The International Essential Tremor Foundation Headquartered in Lenexa, Kan., and founded in 1988, the International Essential Tremor Foundation is thleading organization in the world dedicated to helping those affected by essential tremor through awareness, education, support and funding research to identify effective treatments and hopefully, a cure for the condition.

The IETF hosts ongoing community awareness events across the country to build a better understanding of ET and provides those affected with the basic knowledge necessary to become their own advocate when seeking treatment. The Foundation provides support and resources to seven community ambassadors and a nationwide network of 80 local support groups.

Since its inception, the IETF has distributed more than half a million dollars in research grants to fund 12 promising research studies to search for the cause of ET. To learn more about essential tremor, visit the IETF website at

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