Although tremor is the most common movement disorder, there are few non-invasive treatment options. One of the obstacles to creating effective tremor suppression devices is our lack of understanding regarding where tremor originates (which muscles), how it propagates through the limb (to which degrees of freedom, DOF), and where it manifests most severely (which DOF). To investigate these questions, we created a simple, linear time-invariant model to simulate tremor, with tremorogenic muscle activity input (in the 15 major superficial muscles from the shoulder to the wrist) and joint displacement output (in the 7 major upper limb DOF). The model included excitation-contraction dynamics, musculoskeletal geometry (muscle moment arms) and the mechanical impedance (inertia, damping, and stiffness) of the limb. From our simulation results, we determined four principles of tremor propagation. First, the distribution of tremor depends strongly on musculoskeletal dynamics. Second, the spreading of tremor is due to inertial coupling (primarily) and musculoskeletal geometry (secondarily). Third, tremor spreads narrowly in the sense that most of the tremor caused by a muscle occurs in a small number of DOF. Lastly, assuming uniform distribution of tremorogenic activity among upper-limb muscles, tremor increases proximal-distally, and the contribution from muscles increases proximal-distally.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Corie, Thomas Henry, "Simulated Tremor Propagation in the Upper Limb: From Muscle Activity to Joint Displacement" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 6777.
tremor, tremor characterization, tremor distribution, tremor propagation, upper limb, degrees of freedom