Different effects of essential tremor and Parkinsonian tremor on multiscale dynamics of hand tremor

Dongning Su, Fangzhao Zhang, Zhu Liu, Shuo Yang, Ying Wang, Huizi Ma, Brad Manor, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Lewis A. Lipsitz, Hua Pan, Tao Feng, Junhong Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Essential tremor (ET) and Parkinsonian tremor (PT) are often clinically misdiagnosed due to the overlapping characteristics of their hand tremor. We aim to examine if ET and PT influence the multiscale dynamics of hand tremor, as quantified using complexity, differently, and if such complexity metric is of promise to help identify ET from PT. Methods: Forty-eight participants with PT and 48 with ET performed two 30-second tests within each of the following conditions: sitting while resting arms or outstretching arms horizontally. The hand tremor was captured by accelerometers secured to the dorsum of each hand. The complexity was quantified using multiscale entropy. Results: Compared to PT group, ET group had lower complexity of both hands across conditions (F > 34.2, p < 0.001). Lower complexity was associated with longer disease duration (r2 > 0.15, p < 0.009) in both PT and ET, and within PT, greater Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale-III UPDRS-III scores (r2 > 0.18, p < 0.009). Receiver-operating-characteristic curves revealed that the complexity metric can distinguish ET from PT (area-under-the-curve > 0.77, cut-off value = 48 (postural), 49 (resting)), which was confirmed in a separate dataset with ET and PT that were clearly diagnosed in prior work. Conclusions: The PT and ET have different effects on hand tremor complexity, and this metric is promising to help the identification of ET and PT, which still needs to be confirmed in future studies. Significance: The characteristics of multiscale dynamics of the hand tremor, as quantified by complexity, provides novel insights into the different pathophysiology between ET and PT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2282-2289
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Complexity
  • Essential tremor
  • Hand tremor
  • Multiscale entropy
  • Parkinsonian tremor


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