Effects of subthalamic nucleus stimulation and medication on resting and postural tremor in Parkinson's disease

Molly M. Sturman*, David E. Vaillancourt, Leo Verhagen Metman, Roy A E Bakay, Daniel M. Corcos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and antiparkinsonian medication have proved to be effective treatments for tremor in Parkinson's disease. To date it is not known how and to what extent STN DBS alone and in combination with antiparkinsonian medication alters the pathophysiology of resting and postural tremor in idiopathic Parkinson's disease. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of STN DBS and antiparkinsonian medication on the neurophysiological characteristics of resting and postural hand tremor in Parkinson's disease. Resting and postural hand tremor were recorded using accelerometry and surface electromyography (EMG) from 10 Parkinson's disease patients and 10 matched control subjects. The Parkinson's disease subjects were examined under four treatment conditions: (i) off treatment; (ii) STN DBS; (iii) medication; and (iv) medication plus STN DBS. The amplitude, EMG frequency, regularity, and 1-8 Hz tremor-EMG coherence were analysed. Both STN DBS and medication reduced the amplitude, regularity and tremor-EMG coherence, and increased the EMG frequency of resting and postural tremor in Parkinson's disease. STN DBS was more effective than medication in reducing the amplitude and increasing the frequency of resting and postural tremor to healthy physiological levels. These findings provide strong evidence that effective STN DBS normalizes the amplitude and frequency of tremor. The findings suggest that neural activity in the STN is an important modulator of the neural network(s) responsible for both resting and postural tremor genesis in Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2131-2143
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus
  • Tremor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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