Independently together: subthalamic theta and beta opposite roles in predicting Parkinson's tremor

Nir Asch*, Yehuda Herschman, Rotem Maoz, Carmel R. Auerbach-Asch, Dan Valsky, Muneer Abu-Snineh, David Arkadir, Eduard Linetsky, Renana Eitan, Odeya Marmor, Hagai Bergman, Zvi Israel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Tremor is a core feature of Parkinson's disease and the most easily recognized Parkinsonian sign. Nonetheless, its pathophysiology remains poorly understood. Here, we show that multispectral spiking activity in the posterior-dorso-lateral oscillatory (motor) region of the subthalamic nucleus distinguishes resting tremor from the other Parkinsonian motor signs and strongly correlates with its severity. We evaluated microelectrode-spiking activity from the subthalamic dorsolateral oscillatory region of 70 Parkinson's disease patients who underwent deep brain stimulation surgery (114 subthalamic nuclei, 166 electrode trajectories). We then investigated the relationship between patients' clinical Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale score and their peak theta (4-7 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) powers. We found a positive correlation between resting tremor and theta activity (r = 0.41, P < 0.01) and a non-significant negative correlation with beta activity (r = -0.2, P = 0.5). Hypothesizing that the two neuronal frequencies mask each other's relationship with resting tremor, we created a non-linear model of their proportional spectral powers and investigated its relationship with resting tremor. As hypothesized, patients' proportional scores correlated better than either theta or beta alone (r = 0.54, P < 0.001). However, theta and beta oscillations were frequently temporally correlated (38/70 patients manifested significant positive temporal correlations and 1/70 exhibited significant negative correlation between the two frequency bands). When comparing theta and beta temporal relationship (r θ β) to patients' resting tremor scores, we found a significant negative correlation between the two (r = -0.38, P < 0.01). Patients manifesting a positive correlation between the two bands (i.e. theta and beta were likely to appear simultaneously) were found to have lower resting tremor scores than those with near-zero correlation values (i.e. theta and beta were likely to appear separately). We therefore created a new model incorporating patients' proportional theta-beta power and r θ βscores to obtain an improved neural correlate of resting tremor (r = 0.62, P < 0.001). We then used the Akaike and Bayesian information criteria for model selection and found the multispectral model, incorporating theta-beta proportional power and their correlation, to be the best fitting model, with 0.96 and 0.89 probabilities, respectively. Here we found that as theta increases, beta decreases and the two appear separately - resting tremor is worsened. Our results therefore show that theta and beta convey information about resting tremor in opposite ways. Furthermore, the finding that theta and beta coactivity is negatively correlated with resting tremor suggests that theta-beta non-linear scale may be a valuable biomarker for Parkinson's resting tremor in future adaptive deep brain stimulation techniques.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberfcaa074
JournalBrain Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Parkinson's disease
  • beta oscillations
  • subthalamic nucleus
  • theta oscillations
  • tremor


Dive into the research topics of 'Independently together: subthalamic theta and beta opposite roles in predicting Parkinson's tremor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this