A novel posture for better differentiation between Parkinson's tremor and essential tremor

Bin Zhang, Feifei Huang, Jun Liu, Dingguo Zhang

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19 Citations (SciVal)


Due to a lack of reliable non-invasive bio-markers, misdiagnosis between Parkinson's disease and essential tremor is common. Although some assistive engineering approaches have been proposed, little acceptance has been obtained for these methods lack well-studied mechanisms and involve operator-dependent procedures. Aiming at a better differentiation between the two tremor causes, we present a novel posture, termed arm-rested posture, to ameliorate the quality of recorded tremor sequences. To investigate its efficacy, the posture was compared with another common posture, called arm-stretching posture, in fundamental aspects of tremor intensity and dominant frequency. A tremor-affected cohort comprising 50 subjects (PD = 26, ET = 24) with inhomogeneous tremor manifestation were recruited. From each subject, acceleration data of 5 min in terms of each posture were recorded. In the overall process, no operator-dependent procedures, such as data screening, was employed. The differentiation performance of the two postures were assessed by the index of discrimination coefficient and a receiver operating characteristic analysis based on binary logistic regression. The results of the differentiation assessment consistently demonstrate a better performance with the arm-rested posture than with the arm-stretching posture. As a by-product, factors of disease stage (incipient, progressed stage), spectrum estimate (PSD, bispectrum) and recording length (5-300s) were investigated. The significant effect of disease stage was only found in PD in terms of tremor intensity [ F (1, 516) = 7.781, P < 0.05]. The bispectrum estimate was found to have better performance than the PSD estimate in extracting dominant frequency in terms of the discrimination coefficient. By extending the recording length, we noticed an increase in the performance of dominant frequency. The best result of the arm-rested posture was obtained with the maximum recording length of 300 s (area under the curve: 0.944, sensitivity: 92%, 1-specificity: 0%, accuracy: 96%), which is better than that of the arm-stretching posture in the same condition (area under the curve: 0.734, sensitivity: 54%, 1-specificity: 12%, accuracy: 72%). Thus, we conclude that the arm-rested posture can assist in improving tremor differentiation between Parkinson's disease and essential tremor and may act as a universal tool to analyze tremor for both clinical and research purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Article number317
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2018


  • Arm-rested posture
  • Essential tremor
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Postural position
  • Tremor differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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