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Handedness and its association to spatio-temporal organization of goal-directed movements in preterm born children at 4-8 years of age
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2011 (English)In: Proceedings for the Motor Control and Human Skills Conference, Curtin University , 2011, 43-43 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Children born preterm with no known neurological impairment have been shown to have substantial and persistent motor dysfunction at school age1,2. Additionally, higher incidence of non-right handedness has been shown in preterm born populations3. A finding that may be associated with generally affected motor function due to neuropathology and/or developmental delay. So far, few studies have investigated parameters related to movement control and handedness in conjunction and the influence of age in this population. Thus, this study is aimed at the investigation of side differences in spatio-temporal properties of goal-directed upper-limb movements and the influence of age and perinatal factors in preterm born children in comparison to age and sex matched term born children.

DESIGN: The current study includes a sample of preterm born children (n=65, £35 gestation weeks) with no known neurological impairment and age and sex matched controls (n= 73) of 4- to 8-years of age. Hand preference was assessed by repeated observation of the frequency of hand used for manipulation of five different items. Optoelectronic technique (6 camera, 240 Hz, ProReflex, Qualisys Inc.) was used to record upper body movements during a goal-directed unimanual task with high demand on precision. Information regarding duration and smoothness of the movement trajectories was extracted.

RESULTS: It was found that the preterm children have a less evident hand preference as compared to their full term peers. Preliminary findings from the kinematic analyses showed that the preterm born children had longer movement durations and more segmented movement trajectories of the preferred hand. Further, the performance in terms of movement segmentation and duration were more equal between the preferred and non-preferred hand in the preterm group. Age influenced the outcome significantly for both groups where the younger children had longer durations and more segmentations than the older. 

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that the preterm born children, as compared to term born controls, have affected motor function as indicated by spatio-temporal properties related to coordination and control. Further, the preterm group showed less evident hand preference in terms of frequency of hand use and in the quality of movement in terms of kinematics. In conclusion, the less evident hand preference and the generally affected motor function indicate a neuromotor dysfunction in the preterm children that may be associated with a general developmental delay.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Curtin University , 2011. 43-43 p.
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Research subject
Psychology; Neurology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-54616OAI: diva2:524467
10th Motor Control and Human Skills Conference, 29 November - 2 December 2011, Mandurah, Australia
Available from: 2012-05-02 Created: 2012-05-02 Last updated: 2012-09-18

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Johansson, Anna-MariaDomellöf, ErikRönnqvist, Louise
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