Machine Learning in Tremor Analysis: Critique and Directions.

Member Authors
De A, Bhatia KP, Volkmann J, Peach R, Schreglmann SR.
Mov Disord.

Review article


Tremor is the most frequent human movement disorder, and its diagnosis is based on clinical assessment. Yet finding the accurate clinical diagnosis is not always straightforward. Fine-tuning of clinical diagnostic criteria over the past few decades, as well as device-based qualitative analysis, has resulted in incremental improvements to diagnostic accuracy. Accelerometric assessments are commonplace, enabling clinicians to capture high-resolution oscillatory properties of tremor, which recently have been the focus of various machine-learning (ML) studies. In this context, the application of ML models to accelerometric recordings provides the potential for less-biased classification and quantification of tremor disorders. However, if implemented incorrectly, ML can result in spurious or nongeneralizable results and misguided conclusions. This work summarizes and highlights recent developments in ML tools for tremor research, with a focus on supervised ML. We aim to highlight the opportunities and limitations of such approaches and provide future directions while simultaneously guiding the reader through the process of applying ML to analyze tremor data. We identify the need for the movement disorder community to take a more proactive role in the application of these novel analytical technologies, which so far have been predominantly pursued by the engineering and data analysis field. Ultimately, big-data approaches offer the possibility to identify generalizable patterns but warrant meaningful translation into clinical practice.

Published: Mar 2023