Gait variability magnitude but not structure is altered in essential tremor.

Mark McIntosh,'s picture
PubMed URL:
Hass CJ
Author List: 
Roemmich RT
Zeilman PR
Vaillancourt DE
Okun MS
Hass CJ
J Biomech
PubMed ID: 
Essential tremor (ET) is a common tremor disorder affecting postural/action tremor of the upper extremities and midline. Recent research revealed a cerebellar-like deficit during tandem gait in persons with ET, though spatiotemporal variability during normal gait in ET has been relatively ignored. The first purpose of this study was to investigate gait variability magnitude and structure in ET as compared to healthy older adults (HOA). To address this issue, 11 ET and 11 age-matched HOAs walked on a treadmill for 5min at preferred walking speeds. HOAs walked for an additional minute while speed-matched to an ET participant. The second purpose was to describe the clinical correlates of gait variability in this population. To address this aim, 31 persons with ET walked on a treadmill for 5min and completed the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale. Gait variability magnitude was derived by calculating coefficients of variation in stride length, stride time, step length, step time, and step width. Gait variability structure was derived using a detrended fluctuation analysis technique. At preferred walking speeds, ET participants walked significantly slower with significantly increased variability magnitude in all five spatiotemporal gait parameters. At speed-matched walking, ET participants exhibited significantly higher step width variability. Gait variability structure was not different between groups. We also observed that gait variability magnitude was predicted by severity of upper extremity and midline tremors. This study revealed that self-selected gait in ET is characterized by high variability that is associated with tremor severity in the upper extremity and midline.
Published Date: 
October, 2013

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