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Tremor analysis separates Parkinson’s disease and dopamine receptor blockers induced parkinsonism

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Parkinson’s disease, the most common cause of parkinsonism is often difficult to distinguish from its second most common etiology due to exposure to dopamine receptor blocking agents such as antiemetics and neuroleptics. Dual axis accelerometry was used to quantify tremor in 158 patients with parkinsonism; 62 had Parkinson’s disease and 96 were clinically diagnosed with dopamine receptor blocking agent-induced parkinsonism. Tremor was measured while subjects rested arms (resting tremor), outstretched arms in front (postural tremor), and reached a target (kinetic tremor). Cycle-by-cycle analysis was performed to measure cycle duration, oscillation amplitude, and inter-cycle variations in the frequency. Patients with dopamine receptor blocker induced parkinsonism had lower resting and postural tremor amplitude. There was a substantial increase of kinetic tremor amplitude in both disorders. Postural and resting tremor in subjects with dopamine receptor blocking agent-induced parkinsonism was prominent in the abduction–adduction plane. In contrast, the Parkinson’s disease tremor had equal amplitude in all three planes of motion. Tremor frequency was comparable in both groups. Remarkable variability in the width of the oscillatory cycles suggested irregularity in the oscillatory waveforms in both subtypes of parkinsonism. Quantitative tremor analysis can distinguish Parkinson’s disease from dopamine receptor blocking agent-induced parkinsonism.

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Correspondence to Aasef G. Shaikh.

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Shaikh, A.G. Tremor analysis separates Parkinson’s disease and dopamine receptor blockers induced parkinsonism. Neurol Sci 38, 855–863 (2017).

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