Relationship between multiple sclerosis intention tremor severity and lesion load in the brainstem

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Intention tremor due to multiple sclerosis is clinically similar to cerebellar tremor. This study investigated, in 14 multiple sclerosis patients, the relationship between intention tremor severity and the lesion load in different infratentorial regions. Tremor amplitude was quantified during step-tracking tasks. The lesion load was measured on magnetic resonance images using an automated segmentation method. Intention tremor amplitude was significantly related to lesion load in the brainstem but not in the cerebellum. Specifically, tremor amplitude correlated with the lesion load in the contralateral pons, and patients with more severe tremor in both arms had a greater lesion load bilaterally in the pons. These results support the view that multiple sclerosis intention tremor is related to dysfunction of cerebellar inflow and/or outflow pathways.

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