Clinical neurophysiology of tremor

J Clin Neurophysiol. 1996 Mar;13(2):110-21. doi: 10.1097/00004691-199603000-00002.


The neurophysiological analysis of tremor has a long tradition. These attempts were directed to understand the mechanisms underlying tremor, on the one hand, and to develop tools to better diagnose the different types of tremor, on the other. Meanwhile, reasonable criteria are available to distinguish between centrally and peripherally mediated tremors. However, no generally accepted means exist to differentiate the different forms of central tremors. Frequency is a useful classifier for cerebellar tremor, rubral tremor, and orthostatic tremor. Although the highest amplitudes are found in Parkinson's disease, this parameter does not well distinguish between the different tremors. Waveform analysis of tremor is a promising tool to separate between the different tremors. Polymyography is pathognomonic for some rare forms of tremor. New approaches to classify tremors are based on positron emission tomography scanning, analysis of ballistic movement, and reflex testing. The means to separate myoclonias from tremors include EEG/EMG correlation techniques, long-latency reflexes, and polymyography. Provided these techniques are applied in the setting of careful clinical analysis of tremor syndromes, they may prove to be helpful in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellum / physiopathology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Extremities / physiopathology
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Mesencephalon / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Periodicity
  • Reflex
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Tremor / complications
  • Tremor / diagnosis
  • Tremor / physiopathology*