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The relation between EMG activity and kinematic parameters strongly supports a role of the action tremor in parkinsonian bradykinesia

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  • M. C. Carboncini, University of Pisa
  • ,
  • D. Manzoni, University of Pisa
  • ,
  • S. Strambi, University of Pisa
  • ,
  • U. Bonuccelli, University of Pisa
  • ,
  • N. Pavese
  • P. Andre, University of Pisa
  • ,
  • B. Rossi, University of Pisa

The kinematics characteristics of an upper arm extension of large amplitude (90°) performed in the horizontal plane and the simultaneous activity of the shoulder muscles were recorded in 12 parkinsonian patients and in six normal control subjects. The movement, triggered by an acoustic "go" signal, was preceded by an isometric adduction. Within the whole population of individuals (n = 18) a strong, positive correlation was observed between the root mean square value of agonist EMG activity, evaluated during the acceleration phase of the movement, and both peak velocity and acceleration. In six patients tremor bursts at the frequency of 8-14 Hz (action tremor) were observed during the movement phase in the anterior, middle, and posterior deltoid: all these patients showed low root mean square values and were bradykinetic with respect to the control subjects. The remaining six patients did not show this action tremor during the movement phase. All but one had an agonist activation of normal duration and amplitude, showed high root mean square values, and performed well in the range of control subjects. We conclude that the inability to suppress the activity of pathological oscillator(s) responsible for the action tremor plays a fundamental role in the bradykinesia associated with Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMovement Disorders
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Action tremor, Bradykinesia, Parkinson's disease

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