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Orthostatic tremor is a high frequency tremor predominantly on calf muscles during standing. Brainstem is the most probable generator in the pathogenesis since it comprises bilaterally projecting centers regulating stance or tone. We aimed to investigate the functional role of brainstem through the evaluation of acoustic startle response in primary orthostatic tremor patients. We included 7 (2 males) consecutive patients and 13 (5 males) healthy volunteers. Diagnosis was confirmed by polymyographic surface electromyography. All subjects underwent acoustic startle response and blink reflex investigations. Presence rate (71.4% vs. 100%, p=0.042) and response rate (27.5% vs. 40.5%, p=0.047) of total acoustic startle response were lower in patient group. Similarly, probability over orbicularis oculi was lower among patients (p=0.003). However, blink reflex was observed in all patients and healthy volunteers and latencies of startle and blink reflexes were similar between groups. In our patient group, normal response rate and latencies of R1 and R2 show structural integrity of at least blink reflex circuit at brainstem. On the other hand, suppressed response rates probably reflect decreased excitability of auditory startle reflex pathway. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Meral E Kızıltan, Ayşegül Gündüz, Güneş Kızıltan, Idris Sayılır, Gülçin Benbir, Ozlem Uyanık. Acoustic startle response in patients with orthostatic tremor. Neuroscience letters. 2012 Sep 13;525(2):100-4

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PMID: 22884645

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