Multiple Resting-State Networks Are Associated With Tremors and Cognitive Features in Essential Tremor

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The heterogeneous clinical features of essential tremor indicate that the dysfunctions of this syndrome are not confined to motor networks, but extend to nonmotor networks. Currently, these neural network dysfunctions in essential tremor remain unclear. In this study, independent component analysis of resting-state functional MRI was used to study these neural network mechanisms.


Thirty-five essential tremor patients and 35 matched healthy controls with clinical and neuropsychological tests were included, and eight resting-state networks were identified. After considering the structure and head-motion factors and testing the reliability of the selected resting-state networks, we assessed the functional connectivity changes within or between resting-state networks. Finally, image-behavior correlation analysis was performed.


Compared to healthy controls, essential tremor patients displayed increased functional connectivity in the sensorimotor and salience networks and decreased functional connectivity in the cerebellum network. Additionally, increased functional network connectivity was observed between anterior and posterior default mode networks, and a decreased functional network connectivity was noted between the cerebellum network and the sensorimotor and posterior default mode networks. Importantly, the functional connectivity changes within and between these resting-state networks were correlated with the tremor severity and total cognitive scores of essential tremor patients.


The findings of this study provide the first evidence that functional connectivity changes within and between multiple resting-state networks are associated with tremors and cognitive features of essential tremor, and this work demonstrates a potential approach for identifying the underlying neural network mechanisms of this syndrome. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

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