TREMOR-003_342x198After signing a consent form, a 70-year old semi-retired male engineer in good general health reported that he had had tremor in his hands, but nowhere else, for 25 years. He recalled his father having had the same tremor. A general practitioner had diagnosed this engineer’s case as familial tremor. He had also heard it termed “anticipatory tremor”—it occurred mainly when he moved his hands to undertake some action.

Over time the tremor had gained in amplitude. When he held a piece of paper, he had a hard time reading because his hands would shake. When he lifted up a briefcase, his hand would “go wild”, with jerks of a full inch back and forth. However, the tremor was not so bad as significantly to disrupt his manual activities at work. He is right-handed. The tremor was worse in his left hand than in his right at a ratio that he estimated as 3:2.

Out of curiosity and without having any notion of treating his tremor, the engineer began to wear 24 hours a day on his left wrist a copper bracelet with two 1 mm diameter NdFeB magnets on the inside of each end (=4).

One week later, his wife remarked that his hands had stopped shaking. He did not know of any other reason for this than his wearing of the bracelet. He reported that the amplitude of the tremor had dropped by approximately 80% in typical situations. But when he became nervous or, for instance, was carrying his briefcase, the tremor was only reduced by approximately 33%. This improvement continued for two months up to the time of the interview. The reduction in tremor occurred in both hands. He did not observe any other effects except that he had to wash off the green copper that appeared on his skin.

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Kenneth J. Dillon is an historian who writes on science, medicine, and history.  See the biosketch at About Us.
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