A septuagenarian retired teacher living in Greater Kaohsiung, who is also a talented calligraphist, started suffering from involuntary tremors in both hands around a year ago, forcing him to give up his hobby of 40 years. He was initially worried he had Parkinson’s disease, but that was ruled out after seeing a doctor, who eventually diagnosed him with degenerative tremors that affect elderly people. His condition improved significantly after taking medication, and he was able to take up the brush again.
Lin Tsu-kung, head of the Department of Neurology at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, says that degenerative tremors and Parkinson’s disease are two different types of diseases, and that from clinical studies it is apparent that when a certain position or posture is maintained, involuntary tremors occur when, for example, holding out one’s hand, holding something, or holding a spoon to eat soup. The head may also make back and forth motions when talking. The cause, however, is unknown.
Lin says that Parkinsonian tremors, on the other hand, will still occur even when a person is resting. For example, a person’s hand will twitch while watching TV, accompanied by stiff, slow movements and loss of balance, all of which is caused by cerebral disease. Although it can be controlled with treatment, it cannot be cured.
Common physiologic tremors can occur when people get nervous, angry, excited or when caffeine is consumed.
The doctor gave the retired teacher a CT scan to ensure that there were not any problems in the brain. In addition, he was not suffering from alcoholism or taking medicine for asthma or epilepsy.
Lin says that degenerative tremors usually occur in people 60 years of age or older, and that half of all cases are hereditary and do not cause damage to the nervous system or one’s physical health, but if the tremors affect one’s social life or daily habits, the patient may be given beta blockers or depressants. Although it cannot be completely controlled, there is usually around a 60 percent improvement seen in a person’s condition when given beta blockers.
1. retired adj.
退休的 (tui4 xiu1 de5)
例: After Mrs Lin retired she spent most of her time taking care of her granddaughter.
2. involuntary adj.
不自主的 (bu2 zi4 zhu3 de5)
例: REM sleep is characterized by rapid involuntary movements of the eyes.
3. caffeine n.
咖啡因 (ka1 fei1 yin1)
例: Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug.
The retired teacher saw vast improvements in his tremors after taking medication, and he was finally able to return to his calligraphy hobby.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)