Parkinsonian rest tremor can be distinguished from voluntary hand movements based on subthalamic and cortical activity

Clin Neurophysiol. 2024 Jan:157:146-155. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2023.10.018. Epub 2023 Nov 17.


Objective: To distinguish Parkinsonian rest tremor and different voluntary hand movements by analyzing brain activity.

Methods: We re-analyzed magnetoencephalography and local field potential recordings from the subthalamic nucleus of six patients with Parkinson's disease. Data were obtained after withdrawal from dopaminergic medication (Med Off) and after administration of levodopa (Med On). Using gradient-boosted tree learning, we classified epochs as tremor, fist-clenching, forearm extension or tremor-free rest.

Results: Subthalamic activity alone was insufficient for distinguishing the four different motor states (balanced accuracy mean: 38%, std: 7%). The combination of cortical and subthalamic features, in contrast, allowed for a much more accurate classification (balanced accuracy mean: 75%, std: 17%). Adding a single cortical area improved balanced accuracy by 17% on average, as compared to classification based on subthalamic activity alone. In most patients, the most informative cortical areas were sensorimotor cortical regions. Decoding performance was similar in Med On and Med Off.

Conclusions: Electrophysiological recordings allow for distinguishing several motor states, provided that cortical signals are monitored in addition to subthalamic activity.

Significance: By combining cortical recordings, subcortical recordings and machine learning, adaptive deep brain stimulation systems might be able to detect tremor specifically and to respond adequately to several motor states.

Keywords: Classification; MEG; Machine learning; Parkinson’s disease; Subthalamic nucleus; Tremor; Voluntary movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy
  • Subthalamic Nucleus*
  • Tremor / diagnosis


  • Levodopa