Both standard spectral analysis and time-dependent phase correlation techniques were applied to 27 pairs of tremor-related single units in the globus pallidus internus (GPi) and EMG of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) undergoing stereotactic neurosurgery. Over long time-scales (∼60 s), GPi tremor-related units were statistically coherent with restricted regions of the peripheral musculature displaying tremor, The distribution of pooled coherence across all pairs supports a classification of GPi cell/EMG oscillatory pairs into coherent or noncoherent. Analysis using ∼2-s sliding windows shows that oscillatory activity in both GPi tremor units and muscles occurs intermittently over time. For brain/muscle pairs that are coherent, there is partial overlap in the times of oscillatory activity but, in most cases, no significant correlation between the times of oscillatory subepisodes in the two signals. Phase locking between coherent pairs occurs transiently; however, the phase delay is similar for different phase-locking subepisodes. Noncoherent pairs also show episodes of transient phase locking, but they occurred less frequently, and no preferred phase delay was seen across subepisodes. Tremor oscillations in pallidum and EMGs are punctuated by phase slips, which were classified as synchronizing or desynchronizing depending on their effect on phase locking. In coherent pairs, the incidence of synchronizing slips is higher than desynchronizing slips, whereas no significant difference was seen for noncoherent pairs. The results of this quantitative characterization of parkinsonian tremor provide a foundation for hypotheses about the structure and dynamical functioning of basal ganglia motor control networks involved in tremor generation.
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