Differentiating tremor patients using spiral analyses

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2015;2015:6227-30. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2015.7319815.


Essential tremor follows an autosomal dominant type of inheritance in the majority of patients, yet its genetic basis has not been identified. The age of onset in this tremor is bimodal, one in young age and another when they are old. The old onset is referred to as senile tremor in this study. The precise pathology is still not completely understood for both these tremors. We wanted to develop an easy diagnostic tool to differentiate these two tremors clinically. In this study, the spirals were asked to be drawn by 30 patients, 15 from each group. The spirals were recorded digitally from each hand, with and without the spiral template, using a Wacom intuos version 4 tablets. The aim of the study was to look at the easy diagnostic measures from these spirals to distinguish the two cohorts of patients. The first measure was to use the well-known clinical scores like the number of complete circles without the template, width, height, axis, and degree of severity. The second measure was to estimate the peak frequency and the peak amplitude for the position, velocity, and acceleration data, in the frequency domain. The well-known clinical scores, most of them, did not show any significant difference between the two patient cohorts except the degree of severity which showed significant difference. The peak frequency and the peak amplitude in most of the data were not significantly different between the two cohorts of patients, only the peak amplitude from the acceleration data showed significant difference. Thus, we could use these two parameters to differentiate between the two tremors patient groups, which would be an easy clinical diagnostic tool without the need for any complicated analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms*
  • Essential Tremor / diagnosis
  • Essential Tremor / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tremor / diagnosis
  • Tremor / pathology*