Synchrony of rest tremor in multiple limbs in parkinson's disease: evidence for multiple oscillators

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2001;108(3):287-96. doi: 10.1007/s007020170074.


Recent evidence points to involvement of central nervous system oscillators in Parkinson's disease (PD) rest tremor. It remains unknown whether one or multiple oscillators cause tremor in multiple limbs. Based on the prediction that multiple oscillators would cause low coherence even with similar average frequency, we studied 22 PD patients using accelerometers on multiple limbs. Records were digitized and spectral analysis was performed. Peak frequencies in the arms, legs, and chin were similar, indicating that biomechanical factors did not determine the frequency. Coherence between different axes of individual accelerometers and between different segments of the same limb was high. However, coherence between tremor in different limbs was low. There was no consistent pattern across patients of ipsi- vs. contralateral predominance of coherence. These data suggest that tremor in PD is generated by multiple oscillatory circuits, which operate on similar frequencies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Chin / innervation
  • Chin / physiopathology
  • Cortical Synchronization*
  • Extremities / innervation
  • Extremities / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / pathology
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Tremor / pathology
  • Tremor / physiopathology*