A longitudinal study of tremor frequencies in Parkinson's disease and essential tremor

B. Hellwig, P. Mund, B. Schelter, B. Guschlbauer, J. Timmer, C. H. Luecking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is evidence that the tremor frequency in essential tremor (ET) decreases with time. Longitudinal studies on the evolution of tremor frequencies in Parkinson's disease (PD) have so far not been published. Here, we present a longitudinal analysis of tremor frequencies in PD and ET.

Methods: We analyzed the standardized accelerometric and electromyographic tremor recordings of 53 patients with PD and 38 patients with ET who underwent repeated routine tremor recordings between 1991 and 2002.

Results: In an average follow-up period of 44.9 months in PD and 50.6 months in ET, the average number of tremor recordings was 3.3 in PD and 3.7 in ET. In both disorders, tremor frequencies tended to decrease with time. The average annual decrease of the tremor frequency was 0.09 Hz/year in Parkinsonian rest tremor, 0.08 Hz/year in Parkinsonian postural tremor and 0.12 Hz/year in ET.

Conclusions: The tremor frequency decreases with time in both PD and ET. The similarity of this decrease in PD and ET may point to a common underlying pathophysiological mechanism.

Significance: Decreasing tremor frequencies with time may be functionally important by inducing larger tremor amplitudes due to the low-pass filtering properties of muscles and limbs. (C) 2008 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-435
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Parkinson's disease
  • essential tremor
  • tremor frequency


Dive into the research topics of 'A longitudinal study of tremor frequencies in Parkinson's disease and essential tremor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this