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660872 tn?1238644845
What was wrong with Katherine Hepburn
Hi,

I have benign familial essential tremor.  It comes from my fathers side of the family.  My father is not very compliant with taking his medication (propanolol) and therefore his tremor is usually uncontrolled.

I've noticed as he's getting older (81) that he has developed a head movement just like the one Katherine Hepburn had.  (a kind of nodding motion with a slight degree of rotation)  It's not as bad as hers was and it's not there all the time. The head movement has developed over the last 5 to 7 years or so.  He doesn't seem to be aware of it.

Is this a result of the essential tremor? If not, what else could it be? Does this mean that I'm likely to get this too?

I doubt if it's Parkinsons because he doesn't have any other signs. No pill rolling, no shuffling, no stiffness.  He just has the tremor and head movement.

Also, I take sinemet (levadopa/cardopa) for restless legs, can this prevent the onset of this movement problem?

Thank you

Arach
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660872 tn?1238644845
Doesn't anybody know what was wrong with her?

Arach
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Yes, she did have essential tremor.  It is not the same as Parkinson's and some believe it is indeed genetic.  Hepburn's grandfather had it.  Here is a link to some of the more recent ideas about the disorder:

http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/news/in-vivo/Vol2_Iss02_jan29_03/

There are other websites, if you'll Google for it, that have other info on it, trials to see what helps it, and so on.  As far as I could tell from a variety of websites I looked at concerning this health issue, no one has come up with a solution to help or prevent it, so I'm not sure if the RLS meds you asked about will have any effect on it one way or the other.

I think you should take your interest in it and do some research on the subject, get involved, because many more people suffer from tremor than even Parkinson's!
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660872 tn?1238644845
Thanks so much for the answer. I am already on meds for essential tremor (propanolol) but I wasn't sure if the head movement thing was essential tremor or not.  No one in my fathers family have this head thing (except my Dad).

Thanks again.
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