Several studies have indicated that alcohol can suppress essential tremor (ET). This study examined whether it may also improve gait by assessing the walking patterns of 16 patients with ET and 11 age-matched controls without ET 30-minutesbefore and after each subject consumed a small dose of alcohol.
· After consuming alcohol, patients with ET had significantly improved tremor scores and ataxia scores. Their number of missteps also significantly decreased (from 8.8 to 5.6).
· Controls had a slight worsening of ataxia scores and an increased number of missteps (from 0.4 to 0.7), though both of these results were non-significant.
This study confirms previous findings indicating that alcohol use can improve tremor in patients with ET. Further, it showed that drinking may also improve gait in these patients. This study raises the possibility that alcohol might benefit patients with other movement disorders.
Source: Klebe S, Stolze H, Grensing K, et al. Influence of alcohol on gait in patients with essential tremor. Neurology. 2005;65:96101