Essential tremor (ET) prominently affects the upper-limbs during voluntary movements, but can also affect the lower-limbs, head, and chin. Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) of thalamus improves both clinical ratings and quantitative measures of tremor, no study has quantified effects of DBS on tremor across multiple body parts. Our objective was to quantify therapeutic effects of DBS across multiple body parts in ET.
We performed quantitative assessment of tremor in ET patients who had DBS for at least one year. We assessed tremor on and off VIM-stimulation using triaxial accelerometers on the upper-limbs, lower-limbs, head and chin during seated and standing tasks.
VIM-DBS significantly reduced tremor, but there was no statistical difference in degree of tremor reduction across the measured effectors. Compared to healthy controls, ET patients treated with DBS showed significantly greater tremor power (4-8 Hz) across all effectors during seated and standing tasks.
VIM-DBS reduced tremor in ET patients. There was no significant difference in the degree of tremor reduction across the measured effectors.
This study provides new quantitative evidence that VIM-DBS is effective at reducing tremor across multiple parts of the body.