The objective of the study was to investigate the interplay between involuntary tremulous activities and task performance under volitional control for patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) during position tracking. A volunteer sample of nine untreated patients and nine age-matched healthy subjects participated in this study. They performed a sinusoidal tracking maneuver with a shoulder and a static pointing task; meanwhile, a position trace of the index and accelerometer data in the upper limb were recorded to characterize tracking performance and postural-kinetic tremors. In reference to postural tremor, the kinetic tremor of control subjects during tracking was considerably modulated, leading to a lower regularity and greater spectral deviation. In contrast, patients with PD demonstrated greater postural and kinetic tremors than control subjects, and tremulous movements of the patients were comparatively task-invariant. The prominent coherence peak, which occurred at 8-12 Hz in control subjects, was atypically presented at 5-8 Hz for PD patients with poorer tracking performance. Functionally, congruency of position tracking was related to amplitude of kinetic tremor after subtracting from amplitude of postural tremor. In conclusion, task-dependent organization of tremulous movements was impaired in patients with PD. The inferior tracking performance of the patients correlated implicitly with kinetic tremor, signifying some sharing of neural substrates for manual tracking and tremor generation.
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