The precise pathophysiology of primary writing tremor (PWT) and writer’s cramp (WC) is not known. The aim of this study is to compare the cerebral activation patterns in patients of PWT, WC and healthy controls, during a task of signing on paper, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Materials and Methods:
Six subjects with PWT, three with WC and six healthy volunteers were examined using a 1.5-Tesla scanner. The paradigm consisted of three times repetition of a set of period of rest and activity. Each set consisted of 10 blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) echo-planar imaging (EPI) acquisitions at rest followed by 10 BOLD EPI acquisitions while signing their names on paper using the dominant right hand. Entire brain was covered. SPM99 analysis was done.
In comparison to the healthy controls, the following differences in cerebral activation were noted in the patients: (a) primary and supplementary motor areas showed overactivation in patients of PWT and underactivation in patients of WC, (b) the cingulate motor area showed underactivation in patients of PWT and overactivation in patients of WC and (c) the cerebellar activity was reduced in both WC and PWT.
Our preliminary findings suggest that the cerebral and cerebellar activation patterns in PWT and WC during signing on paper are distinct from each other and from healthy controls. There may be cerebellar dysfunction in addition to motor dysfunctions in the pathogenesis of these disorders.