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A Wearable System For Attenuating Essential Tremor Based On Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

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Currently available treatments for kinetic tremor can cause intolerable side effects or be highly invasive and expensive. Even though several studies have shown the positive effects of external feedback (i.e., electrical stimulation) for suppressing tremor, such approaches have not been fully integrated into wearable real-time feedback systems. Method:We have developed a wireless wearable stimulation system that analyzes upper limb tremor using a three-axis accelerometer and that modulates/attenuates tremor using peripheral-nerve electrical stimulation with adjustable stimulation parameters and a real-time tremor detection algorithm. We outfitted nine subjects with tremor with a wearable system and a set of surface electrodes placed on the skin overlying the radial nerve and tested the effects of stimulation with nine combinations of parameters for open- and closed-loop stimulation on tremor. To quantify the effects of the stimulation, we measured tremor movements, and analyzed the dominant tremor frequency and tremor power. Results: Baseline tremor power gradually decreased over the course of 18 stimulation trials. During the last trial, compared with the control trial, the reduction rate of tremor power was 42.17 ± 3.09%. The dominant tremor frequency could be modulated more efficiently by phase-locked closed-loop stimulation. The tremor power was equally reduced by open- and closed-loop stimulation. Conclusion: Peripheral nerve stimulation significantly affects tremor, and stimulation parameters need to be optimized to modulate tremor metrics. Clinical Impact: This preliminary study lays the foundation for future studies that will evaluate the efficacy of the proposed closed-loop peripheral nerve stimulation method in a larger group of patients with kinetic tremor.

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