Aging, hypertension and physiological tremor: The contribution of the cardioballistic impulse to tremorgenesis in older adults

Steven Morrison, Jacob J. Sosnoff, Kevin S Heffernan, Sae Young Jae, Bo Fernhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


For older adults, an increase in physiological tremor is a common motor feature. This increase is believed to primarily reflect a general decline in function of the neuromuscular system. However, given that tremor is derived from a number of intrinsic sources, age-related changes in other physiological functions like the cardiac system may also negatively alter tremor output. The aim of this study was to examine what impact age and increased cardiac input (hypertension) have on physiological tremor. Heart rate, blood pressure, and postural/resting tremor were recorded in three groups; 1) young, healthy adults, 2) old, normotensive adults, and 3) old, hypertensive adults. The results demonstrated that the old hypertensive adults had greater postural tremor compared to the young healthy individuals. Coherence analysis revealed significant coupling between blood pressure-tremor and between heart rate-tremor for all individuals. The strength of this coupling was greatest for the older, hypertensive individuals. Together these results show that, for older adults, the combined effects of age and cardiac disease have the greatest impact on physiological tremor rather than any single factor alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Age
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Coherence
  • Physiological tremor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

Cite this