Tremulous Hand of Worcester

Essential tremor is defined by The Mayo Clinic as “a nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) that causes a rhythmic shaking. Essential tremor can affect almost any part of your body, but the trembling occurs most often in your hands — especially when you try to do simple tasks, such as drinking from a glass, tying shoelaces, writing or shaving”. In the link provided there is a discussion the eludes to the possibility that ‘Tremulous Hand of Worcester’ suffered from essential tremor. What amazed me the most about this journal article was the attention to the scribes notes in the columns. The fact that he noted remedies and makeshift cures obtained from the writings he was transcribing showed that he was aware that he was suffering from some ailment. However, at the end the writer states that most of his notes pertain to possibly coexisting ailments. This still shows that he was looking for something, other than alcohol, to ease or cure his tremors. The researchers have ruled out Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders through multiple avenues. Mapping the frequency of the scribes writing, something I was unaware existed until reading this paper, was used to relate to modern-day Parkinson patient writings. Others have stated that the scribe used alcohol to hydrate during his breaks. The added result of the alcohol, other than hydration, could possibly steady the scribes tremulous hand. I think the researchers should look into the idea that the scribe was constantly in a state of alcohol withdrawal, which was fixed with alcohol consumption during the short breaks between writing. I believe that would be an interesting story, even though it is more improbable than the case explained above.


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