Spectral analysis was performed on postural hand tremor records obtained from 22 parkinsonian subjects. Of these 22 subjects, 18 had postural hand tremor that occurred primarily at a single frequency during any one 16-s period. In general, this tremor occurred at different steady-state frequencies (each calculated over 16 s) between about 4 Hz and 8–9 Hz. This frequency decreased approximately 1 Hz for each 10-fold increase in displacement amplitude (root-mean-square, rms, amplitude determined at 16 cm from the wrist), decreasing from 8–9 Hz at about 30 mum to 3.75–4.0 Hz at about 30,000 mum. The major finding was that the frequency of parkinsonian hand tremor was nearly the same as that for hand tremor from normal subjects when these frequenceis were compared at similar rms displacement levels. This comparison, plus a comparison between other aspects of these two kinds of tremor, indicate that the mechanism for parkinsonian hand tremor is similar to that for large-displacement (greater than 100 mum) hand tremor of normal subjects, i.e., a mechanical-reflex oscillator mechanism.
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