Clinicopathologic Correlations of Jaw Tremor in a Longitudinal Aging Study

Sana Aslam, Nan Zhang, Charles H. Adler, Thomas G. Beach, Erika Driver-Dunckley, Shyamal H. Mehta, Holly Shill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and ObjectivesThe aim of this study is to assess clinical and pathologic correlations of jaw tremor in 3 cohorts enrolled in a long-Term aging study. Jaw/lip tremor has been described in various movement disorders but the impact of seeing a jaw tremor on clinician diagnosis and whether the presence of isolated jaw tremor is correlated with subsequent phenoconversion to a different movement disorder are unclear.MethodsData from the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease, a longitudinal clinicopathologic study, were used. Control subjects (n = 708) did not have any tremor or parkinsonism. At initial evaluation, 276 subjects who had jaw tremor were categorized as isolated jaw tremor (jaw tremor without limb action tremor or parkinsonism), suspect/possible PD (1 or 2 cardinal features of PD without a history of dopaminergic treatment), parkinsonism (probable PD and other parkinsonian disorders), or nonparkinsonian tremor (e.g., essential tremor). Initial clinical diagnosis was compared with "final diagnosis"based on longitudinal assessments and with clinicopathologic diagnosis when available.ResultsIn subjects with jaw tremor, we identified 45 isolated jaw tremor, 92 nonparkinsonian tremor, 56 suspect/possible PD, and 83 parkinsonism cases at baseline and followed longitudinally. Neuropathologic diagnosis was available for 137 cases. The mean time from initial to final assessment or autopsy was 6.8 years (SD 4.4). Of the subjects with follow-up data, only 15.4% of those with isolated jaw tremor (6/39) and 8.8% of those with nonparkinsonian tremor (6/68) evolved into a clinical parkinsonian disorder. Neither of these groups was associated with clinicopathologic PD: isolated jaw tremor (1/18) and nonparkinsonian tremor (1/43). Those with jaw tremor initially classified into a parkinsonian group were more highly associated with clinicopathologic PD: 27 of 51 subjects with parkinsonism other and 4 of 25 possible PD.DiscussionThe presence of either jaw tremor in isolation or associated with nonparkinsonian tremor does not portend a neurodegenerative diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E85-E92
JournalNeurology: Clinical Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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