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Tremor and Dermatomyositis
July 2003

Q. Is there a connection between extrapyramidal (coarse tremor) and dermatomyositis? If so what is the connection?

A. A tremor is an involuntary movement that can affect any body part, although most commonly affects the hands. It typically appears as a rhythmic back and forth repetitive motion. Classification is usually descriptive: resting tremor occurs when at rest, for example hand motion in a Parkinson's patient who is sitting still, intention tremor when attempting to perform some specific task, postural when attempting to maintain posture or body position, task-specific such as occurs with speech or handwriting, and psychogenic which lessens with distraction.

Tremor can occur with age and unrelated to any other underlying condition (essential tremor) and can occur in association with other recognized conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

Dermatomyositis is and inflammatory condition affecting muscle function. As such, it can affect the muscles that control swallowing and speech. Such difficulty could resemble the effect that tremor has on speech. Evaluation by a neurologist and an otolaryngologist would likely make this distinction.



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