Effects of aging on the regularity of physiological tremor

Molly M. Sturman*, David E. Vaillancourt, Daniel M. Corcos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of healthy aging on the regularity of physiological tremor under rest and postural conditions. Additionally, we examined the contribution of mechanical reflex factors to age-related changes in postural physiological tremor. Tremor regularity, tremor-electromyographic (EMG) coherence, tremor amplitude, and tremor modal frequency were calculated for 4 age groups (young: 20-30 yr, young-old: 60-69 yr, old: 70-79 yr, and old-old: 80-94 yr) under resting and loaded postural conditions. There were 6 important findings from this study: 1) there were no differences between the young and elderly subjects for any of the dependent variables measured under the rest condition; 2) postural physiological tremor regularity was increased in the elderly; 3) postural physiological tremor-EMG coherence was also increased in the elderly, and there was a strong linear relation between peak tremor-EMG coherence in the 1- to 8-Hz frequency band and regularity of tremor. This relation was primarily driven by the increased magnitude of tremor-EMG coherence at 5.85 and 6.83 Hz; 4) enhanced mechanical reflex properties were not responsible for the increased magnitude of tremor-EMG coherence in the elderly subjects; 5) tremor amplitude was not different between the 4 age groups, but there was a slight decline in tremor modal frequency in the oldest age group in the unloaded condition; and 6) despite the increases in postural physiological tremor regularity and the magnitude of low frequency tremor-EMG coherence with age, there was a clear demarcation between healthy aging and previously published findings related to tremor pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3064-3074
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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