Electrical stimulation for the suppression of pathological tremor
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Pathological tremor is manifested as an involuntary oscillation of one or more body parts. Tremor greatly decreases the quality of life and often prevents the patient from performing daily activities. We hypothesized that sensors-driven multichannel electrical stimulation could stabilize affected joints by activating the antagonistic muscles during involuntary activation of agonist muscles and vice versa (out-of-phase stimulation). Here, we present the new system (hardware and software) and the testing of its operation. The hardware consists of a multichannel stimulator and inertial sensors for feedback. The software implements adaptive sensors-driven control for the out-of-phase stimulation. The system was initially applied to healthy persons at the wrist and elbow joints to test the efficiency of the hardware and software solutions. Predefined rhythmic stimulation resulted in tremulous movement, which subjects could not prevent; yet, they were still able to functionally use their hand. The system was then applied to seven patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor for minimization of the wrist joint tremor. In six patients, the adaptive out-of-phase stimulation resulted in a significant decrease in the amplitude of tremor (67 ± 13%). In one patient, the stimulation did not result in the expected reduction of tremor.
KeywordsTremor Suppression FES
This project has been funded in part by the European Commission (IST STREP Project TREMOR No. 224051), Ministry of Science and Technological development of Republic of Serbia (research grant #175016), and Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain (CONSOLIDER-INGENIO Hyper).
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