Research: LUNDERVOLD and colleagues

Listed in Issue 65

Abstract

LUNDERVOLD and colleagues, Department of Education Psychology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 79968, USA, dlunderv@utep.edu evaluated the effects of behavioural relaxation training (BRT) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe essential tremor (ET) in two older adults.

Background

Methodology

Two adults, aged 73 and 83 years, with moderate-to-severe ET were evaluated using a single-case design and statistical analysis. Measures included: within-session clinician- and self-rated tremor severity and disability in activities of daily living (ADL), electromyogram (EMG) activity, and daily self-ratings of tremor severity and ADL disabilities. A brief (2-4 week) baseline period was followed by BRT.

Results

Clinically significant reductions of 47-66% occurred in within-session clinician- and self-rated tremor severity and daily self-ratings. Statistically significant changes in self- and clinician-ratings occurred following BRT. In some cases, EMG activity also declined following BRT. At a 7-week follow-up, results were mixed and related to continued use of relaxation skills.

Conclusion

Although the cost ratio (medication : BRT) indicates that BRT is more expensive relative to standard medical intervention, the cost-benefit to patients offsets the financial difference. BRT may be an effective first step in a biobehavioural stepped-care treatment model.

References

Lundervold DA et al. Reduction of tremor severity and disability following behavioral relaxation training. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 30 (2): 119-35. Jun 1999.

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