By Meagan Perle
For Hometown News
VERO BEACH -- The Alzheimer & Parkinson Association of Indian River County will host its first essential tremor awareness conference on Feb. 7 from 2-5 p.m. at Northern Trust, 755 Beachland Blvd. in Vero Beach.
Peggy Cunningham, executive director of the Alzheimer & Parkinson Association, said the need for education on essential tremor is evident.
"We learned the statistics on this condition: 10 million Americans are estimated to have ET and that is a huge number," Ms. Cunningham said.
Essential tremor, also called family tremor, occurs during movements, which makes it very hard for those affected to do everyday tasks, such as eating with utensils.
Joan Marie Berringer runs the association's ET support group. In 2010 Ms. Berringer went to Congress to help deem March essential tremor awareness month.
"The day Joan Marie held her first ET support group we had 35-40 people walked in the door," Ms. Cunningham said.
The conference will feature multiple speakers including Dr. Fatta B. Nahab from the University of Miami; neurologist Dr. Roberta S. Rose and Ms. Barringer.
Drs. Nahab and Rose and Ms. Berringer will educate the audience on aspects of ET, how to diagnose it, the treatments available for it and informed strategies to help those with ET maximize their quality of life.
"Doctors generally aren't aware of the emotional affect or the severity of the essential tremor," Ms. Berringer said. "I want this to be a day of awareness because the more we share what we have the more accepting people are."
The Alzheimer & Parkinson Association is an independent, nonprofit organization that functions on donations.
While attendance is free of charge, reservations are required to attend the conference, as seating is limited. Healthcare professionals and those affected by essential tremor are encouraged to attend. Complimentary refreshments will be provided.
"It is so important that those with ET have the tools to manage their lives," Ms. Cunningham said.
"That's what our organization is all about: empowering those challenged with memory and motion disorders."
The Alzheimer & Parkinson Association have support groups for those living with ET twice a month.
The seating capacity in the Northern Trust community room is 160.
Those interested in attending should call (772) 563-0505.