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Keywords:

  • tremor;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • deep brain stimulation;
  • subthalamic nucleus;
  • secondary task

Abstract

This study examined the efficacy of subthalamic nucleus (STN), deep brain stimulation (DBS), and medication for resting tremor during performance of secondary tasks. Hand tremor was recorded using accelerometry and electromyography (EMG) from 10 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and ten matched control subjects. The PD subjects were examined off treatment, on STN DBS, on medication, and on STN DBS plus medication. In the first experiment, tremor was recorded in a quiet condition and during a cognitive task designed to enhance tremor. In the second experiment, tremor was recorded in a quiet condition and during isometric finger flexion (motor task) with the contralateral limb at 5% of the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) that was designed to suppress tremor. Results showed that: (1) STN DBS and medication reduced tremor during a cognitive task that exacerbated tremor, (2) STN DBS normalized tremor frequency in both the quiet and cognitive task conditions, whereas tremor amplitude was only normalized in the quiet condition, (3) a secondary motor task reduced tremor in a similar manner to STN DBS. These findings demonstrate that STN DBS still suppresses tremor in the presence of a cognitive task. Furthermore, a secondary motor task of the opposite limb suppresses tremor to levels comparable to STN DBS. © 2007 Movement Disorder Society