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Elan D Louis

Professor of Epidemiology

Professor of Neurology (in Sergievsky & Taub), College of Physicians and Surgeons

Elan Louis, MD, MSc., has principal academic interest in degenerative diseases of the central nervous system, focusing on disorders of involuntary movement including their epidemiology, distribution within populations, genetic basis, etiology, and pathogenesis. He has a particular interest in essential tremor (ET), one of the most common neurological disorders, and his research efforts have focused on the familial aggregation of ET, the environmental epidemiology of ET, the role of lead, beta-carboline alkaloids and other neurotoxins in ET, the relationships between ET and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and the pathological basis of ET. Dr. Louis currently leads the Essential Tremor Centralized Brain Repository at Columbia University, which is a centralized brain bank for the study of ET, and has established a large DNA bank for patients with the disorder. He collaborates with investigators in Spain, Turkey, and Mexico examining the epidemiology of ET in these populations, and has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1995, as well as funding from the International Essential Tremor Foundation, the Charles A. Dana Foundation, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, and a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars Award from the American Federation for Aging Research. Dr. Louis is the author of over 300 peer-reviewed publications and has been invited to write editorials and reviews for Annals of Neurology, Movement Disorders, Archives of Neurology, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, and Lancet Neurology.
Education & Training:

    MSc, 1995, Columbia University

    MD, 1989, Yale University

    BA, 1984, University of Pennsylvania


University Affiliations:

  • Sergievsky Center  Professor
  • Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer?s Disease and the Aging Brain  Professor
  • Department of Neurology  Professor

Additional Affiliations:

  • Member, Movement Disorders Society
  • Member, American Academy of Neurology
  • Member, American Neurological Association
Honors and Awards:
  • Magna Cum Laude (University of Pennsylvania 1984)
  • Merck Research Award (Yale University School of Medicine 1989)
  • Harold Lamport Biomedical Research Prize (Yale University School of Medicine 1989)
  • Lawrence C. McHenry Award (American Academy of Neurology 1994 and 2010)
  • Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar (1997 - 2000)
  • Selected Editorial Boards

    • Neuroepidemiology
    • Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
    • The Open Environmental Journal
Selected Publications:
  • Louis ED, Ford B, Ottman R, Wendt KJ. Validity of family history data in essential tremor. Mov Disord 14 456-461 1999
  • Louis ED, Jiang W, Pellegrino KM, Rios E, Factor-Litvak P, Henchcliffe C, Zheng W. Elevated blood harmane (1-methyl-9h-pyrido[3,4-b]indole) concentrations in essential tremor. Neurotoxicology 29 294-300 2008
  • Louis ED, Benito-Leon J, Bermejo-Pareja F Population-based study of baseline ethanol consumption and risk of incident essential tremor. J Neurology Neurosurg Psychiatry 80 494-497 2009
  • Louis ED, Tang M-X, Schupf N. Mild Parkinsonian signs are associated with increased risk of dementia in a prospective, population-based study of elders. Mov Disord 25 172-178 2010
  • Louis ED, Marder K, Cote L, Pullman S, Ford B, Wilder D, Tang M-X, Lantigua R, Gurland B, Mayeux R. Differences in the prevalence of essential tremor among elderly African-Americans, Whites and Hispanics in Northern Manhattan, NY. Arch Neurol 52 1201-1205 1995
  • Louis ED, Marder KM, Cote L, Tang M-X, Mayeux R. Mortality from Parkinson disease. Arch Neurol 54 260-264 1997
  • Louis ED, Ford B, Lee H, Andrews H. Does a screening questionnaire for essential tremor agree with the physicians’ examination? Neurology 50 1351-1357 1998
  • Louis ED, Anderson KE, Moskowitz C, Thorne D, Marder K. Dystonia-predominant adult-onset Huntington’s disease (HD): Association between motor phenotype and age of onset in adults with HD. Arch Neurol 57 1326-1330 2000
  • Louis ED, Ford B, Frucht S, Barnes LF, Tang M-X, Ottman R. Risk of tremor and impairment from tremor in relatives of patients with essential tremor: A community-based family study. Ann Neurol 49 761-769 2001
  • Louis ED, Zheng W, Jurewicz EC, Watner D, Chen J, Factor-Litvak P, Parides M. Elevation of blood β-carboline alkaloids in essential tremor. Neurology 59 1940-1944 2002

Contact Information


Unit 198, Neurological Institute, 710 West 168th Street

New York, NY 10032