Objective: The pathogenesis of orthostatic tremor (OT) is unknown. We investigated OT-related white matter changes and their correlations with scores from a neuropsychological testing battery. Methods: Diffusion tensor imaging measures were compared between 14 OT patients and 14 age- and education-matched healthy controls, using whole-brain tract-based spatial statistics analysis. Correlations between altered diffusion metrics and cognitive performance in OT group were assessed. Results: In all cognitive domains (attention, executive function, visuospatial ability, verbal memory, visual memory, and language), OT patients’ cognitive performance was significantly worse than that of healthy controls. OT patients demonstrated altered diffusivity metrics not only in the posterior lobe of the cerebellum (left cerebellar lobule VI) and in its efferent cerebellar fibers (left superior cerebellar peduncle), but also in medial lemniscus bilaterally (pontine tegmentum), anterior limb of the internal capsule bilaterally, right posterior limb of the internal capsule, left anterior corona radiata, right insula, and the splenium of corpus callosum. No relationship was found between diffusion measures and disease duration in OT patients. Diffusion white matter changes, mainly those located in right anterior limb of the internal capsule, were correlated with poor performance on tests of executive function, visuospatial ability, verbal memory, and visual memory in OT patients. Interpretation: White matter changes were preferentially located in the cerebellum, its efferent pathways, as well as in the pontine tegmentum and key components of the frontal–thalamic–cerebellar circuit. Further work needs to be done to understand the evolution of these white matter changes and their functional consequences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology