NM  Vol.5 No.5 , December 2014
Understanding Tremor in Rapid Upper Limb Movements Using 3D Accelerometers Data
ABSTRACT
Tremor is a manifestation of a variety of human neurodegenerative diseases, notably Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Essential Tremor (ET), both affecting millions worldwide. PD is primarily caused by a progressive loss of dopamine neurons in the nigrostriatal system that leads to widespread motor symptoms such as bradykinesia, rigidity, tremor and postural instability. ET typically involves a tremor of the arms, hands or fingers. No definitive test or biomarker is yet available for PD or ET, so the rate of misdiagnosis is relatively high. As tremor is a very common feature at the onset of both diseases, it is crucial to be able to characterize it. This is made possible using acce?lerometers to quantify the tremor amplitude and frequency. In this work we aim to find tasks involving upper limb movements that are suitable to modulate both types of tremor. Four tasks were tested, differing on whether the arms moved together or alternatingly and whether loads were added. Significant differences in tremor measures were found when patients were asked to perform simultaneous rapid arms movements with loads placed on their wrists. These results may allow the design of an efficient fMRI protocol for identifying the cortical circuits responsible for the modulation of tremor.

Cite this paper
Pascoal-Faria, P. , Patrício, M. , Leal, A. , Caramelo, F. , Freire, A. , Januário, C. and Castelo-Branco, M. (2014) Understanding Tremor in Rapid Upper Limb Movements Using 3D Accelerometers Data. Neuroscience and Medicine, 5, 205-213. doi: 10.4236/nm.2014.55024.
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