Three-dimensional measurement of essential tremor



A mechanical linkage device was used to measure the three-dimensional position of the fingertip during a postural task. Thirty patients with essential tremor were tested simultaneously with the device, uniaxial accelerometry, and clinical tremor measures. Eighteen patients were tested again 16 ± 4 days later. The device accurately recorded the three-dimensional behavior of essential tremor. Measures from the device included mean three-dimensional velocity, mean three-dimensional dispersion, and power of the three-dimensional acceleration. The logarithms of these measures were strongly correlated (r = .841–.984) with all clinical measures including self-reported tremor disability. The device measures were reliable within and between testing sessions (intraclass correlation coefficients = .971–.977). The performance of the device was superior to uniaxial accelerometry, most likely as a result of the three-dimensional nature of the measurements. We conclude that essential tremor can be validly and reliably quantified during a postural task providing the recording device records movement in three dimensions and the measurements are logarithmically transformed.