Orthostatic tremor is a rare movement disorder characterized by a sensation of unsteadiness and leg tremor while standing. It has been hypothesized that the disorder is attributable to dysregulation of a central oscillatory network in the brain. This putative network includes primary motor cortex, supplementary motor area, cerebellum, thalamus, and pontine tegmentum. We studied this brain network by recording resting-state functional MRI data from individuals with orthostatic tremor. For each participant, we measured resting-state functional connectivity using a seed-based approach. Regions of interest included were components of the putative central oscillatory network and a primary motor thumb region (identified via transcranial magnetic stimulation). A non-central oscillatory network region of interest—posterior cingulate cortex—was included for comparative analysis of a well-characterized intrinsic network, the default mode network. Demographic information, medical history, and tremor characteristics were collected to test associations with functional connectivity. For normative context, data from the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project were analyzed using an identical approach. We observed that tremor and demographic variables were correlated with functional connectivity of central oscillatory network components. Furthermore, relative to healthy comparison participants, patients with orthostatic tremor exhibited qualitatively different patterns of cerebellar resting state functional connectivity. Our study enhances the current understanding of brain network differences related to orthostatic tremor and is consistent with a hypothesized selective decoupling of cerebellum. Additionally, associations observed between functional connectivity and factors including medical history and tremor features may suggest targets for treatment of orthostatic tremor.

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Copyright: © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).

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