3-Hz postural tremor in multiple system atrophy cerebellar type (MSA-C)-a static posturography study

Neurol Sci. 2018 Jan;39(1):71-77. doi: 10.1007/s10072-017-3130-3. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


The objective of the study is to evaluate postural dysfunction of multiple system atrophy-parkinsonian type (MSA-P) and cerebellar type (MSA-C) by static posturography exam. A total of 29 MSA-P patients, 40 MSA-C patients, and 23 healthy controls (HC) were recruited and engaged in a sensory organization test (SOT). The amplitude of the postural sway was measured and transformed into energy value by Fourier analyzer. SOT scores, frequency of falls and typical 3-Hz postural tremors during the four stance tasks, and energy value in three different frequency bands were recorded and compared. Compared with HC, SOT scores were significantly lower in MSA groups (P < 0.01). Compared with MSA-P, the vestibular scores were further reduced in MSA-C patients (P < 0.05). Falls were more frequent in MSA groups, especially in SOT4 task (foam surface with eyes closed) or in MSA-C group (P < 0.05). Typical 3-Hz postural tremor was observed in 97.5% MSA-C patients, in 24.1% MSA-P patients but in none of the HC (P < 0.05). Compared with HC, much more energy was consumed in every task, every direction, and nearly every frequency band in MSA groups. Energy value of MSA-C group was significantly higher than that of MSA-P, especially in higher frequency band (2 ~ 20 Hz) or in more difficult stance tasks (SOT 3 ~ 4, foam surface with eyes open or closed) (P < 0.05). Both MSA-P and MSA-C were characterized by severe static postural dysfunction. However, typical 3-Hz postural tremor was predominant in MSA-C and was very useful in the differential diagnosis between MSA-P and MSA-C.

Keywords: Multiple system atrophy; Postural tremor; Posturography.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebellar Diseases / complications
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple System Atrophy / complications
  • Multiple System Atrophy / diagnosis*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / complications
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / diagnosis
  • Posture*
  • Tremor / diagnosis*
  • Tremor / etiology
  • Vestibular Function Tests