Tremorography in fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, Parkinson's disease and essential tremor

Clin Park Relat Disord. 2020 Jan 23;3:100040. doi: 10.1016/j.prdoa.2020.100040. eCollection 2020.


Background: Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), a neurodegenerative disease affecting carriers of a 55-200 CGG repeat in the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene, may receive an initial diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) or essential tremor (ET) due to overlapping motor symptoms. Therefore, tremor and bradykinesia were compared in these disorders using quantitative tremorography.

Methods: The inertial sensor based Kinesia system was used to quantify upper extremity tremor and bradykinesia in participants with FXTAS (n = 25), PD (n = 23), ET (n = 18) and controls (n = 20) and regression analysis was performed to determine whether tremorography measures distinguished between the groups. The FXTAS Rating scale (FXTAS-RS) was administered to determine whether sub-score items on the clinician rated scale correlated with tremorography variables.

Results: FXTAS participants had reduced finger tap speed compared to those with ET, and ET had increased kinetic tremor compared to PD. Higher kinetic tremor distinguished FXTAS from PD (p = .02), and lower finger tap speed distinguished FXTAS from ET (p = .004). FXTAS-RS tremor and bradykinesia items correlated with tremorography measures (p = .005 to <0.0001).

Conclusions: This is the first quantitative study to compare tremor and bradykinesia in FXTAS, PD and ET. Kinetic tremor and bradykinesia measures using a quantitative inertial sensor system distinguished FXTAS from PD and ET, respectively. Such technologies may be useful for detecting precise tremor and bradykinesia abnormalities and distinguishing the tremor and bradykinesia profiles in each of these disorders.

Keywords: Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS); Parkinson's disease (PD); bradykinesia; essential tremor (ET); tremor; tremorography.