Wavelet coherence analysis: A new approach to distinguish organic and functional tremor types

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Objective: To distinguish tremor subtypes using wavelet coherence analysis (WCA). WCA enables to detect variations in coherence and phase difference between two signals over time and might be especially useful in distinguishing functional from organic tremor.

Methods: In this pilot study, polymyography recordings were studied retrospectively of 26 Parkinsonian (PT), 26 functional (FT), 26 essential (ET), and 20 enhanced physiological (EPT) tremor patients. Per patient one segment of 20 s in duration, in which tremor was present continuously in the same posture, was selected. We studied several coherence and phase related parameters, and analysed all possible muscle combinations of the flexor and extensor muscles of the upper and fore arm. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC-ROC) was applied to compare WCA and standard coherence analysis to distinguish tremor subtypes.

Results: The percentage of time with significant coherence (PTSC) and the number of periods without significant coherence (NOV) proved the most discriminative parameters. FT could be discriminated from organic (PT, ET, EPT) tremor by high NOV (31.88 vs 21.58, 23.12 and 10.20 respectively) with an AUCROC of 0.809, while standard coherence analysis resulted in an AUC-ROC of 0.552.

Conclusions: EMG-EMG WCA analysis might provide additional variables to distinguish functional from organic tremor.

Significance: WCA might prove to be of additional value to discriminate between tremor types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2018


  • Wavelet coherence analysis
  • Parkinsonian tremor
  • Functional tremor
  • Essential tremor
  • Enhanced physiological tremor
  • Electromyography

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