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Kinematic analysis of sequential goal-directed movements in at-risk, preterm born children
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.
2013 (English)In: 22nd Annual Meeting of European Society for Movement Analysis in Adult and Children (ESMAC), Glasgow, Scotland, 2013, 53- p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

INTRODUCTION and AIM: The aim of this study was to conduct kinematic analyses of sequential upper-limb movements in order to isolate different kinematic parameters that might explain the sensory-motor-functional deficits and delays commonly observed in children born preterm (PT). Quantitative analyses of reaching movements in PT infants [1] have revealed some promising results in characterizing the influence of a premature birth on movement control. Also, recent findings from studies using kinematic measurements on children with mild and moderate hemiplegic cerebral palsy [2, 3] show that kinematic measurements are valuable for making distinctions between even minor movement coordination problems and for identification of sensory-motor impairments. Nevertheless, there is still limited knowledge of how a preterm birth may effect long-term neuromotor development and few have investigated such effects by means of kinematics.

 PATIENTS/MATERIALS and METHODS: This kinematic study is part of a more comprehensive, longitudinal project with the goal of exploring the relationship between brain development/deviation and sensory-motor performance in children born PT. Participants consist of 148 children aged between 4–8 years; sixty-eight PT (<35 weeks’ gestation age (GA), range, 22-35, M = 31.7, SD = 3.4; 30 girls) with no diagnosed impairments, and eighty age matched children born full-term (FT) without medical problems (M age at testing = 6.7, SD = 1.8; 36 girls). The children performed goal-directed unimanual upper-limb task with respective hand, where small beads were picked by use of pincer-grip and threaded onto a rod sequentially. The children were informed to pick and thread as many beads as possible, one bead at the time, during a pre-set recording time of 30 seconds. The upper-limb movements were recorded by a six camera optoelectronic system (ProReflex, Qualisys Inc., Gothenburg, Sweden). The 3D data (extracted from head-, shoulder-, elbow- and wrist-markers) were further analysed by use of customized MATLAB scripts. To analyse possible effect of GA the PT children were divided into two sub-groups: moderately preterm (M-PT) = GA 33-35, n = 35 and very preterm (V-PT) = GA <32+6, n = 30.

 RESULTS: The kinematic outcomes analysed by MANOVAs, with side (preferred/ non-preferred) and group (FT, M-PT and V-PT) as categorical predictors, indicating significant group differences in most of the kinematic parameters investigated (e.g., movement duration, 3D distance and segmentation). Differences were mainly evident in the group classified as V-PT compared with M-PT and FT children. Significant correlations between children’s testing age and their kinematic outcomes were also shown within all groups (FT, M-PT and V-PT). These relations were characterized by decreased movement duration, 3D distance and movement segmentation with age.

 DISCUSSION and CONCLUSIONS: Investigating kinematic outcome parameters of upper-limb goal-directed movements confirms that a PT birth, especially a very PT birth, seems to have a long-term effect on children’s motor functions. In the present study, this was shown by means of less proficient spatiotemporal organization during sequentially performed goal-directed movements in the children born PT in comparison to the FT children. In conclusion, the kinematic movement registrations/analysis offers a reliable, non-invasive method to detect even subtle neuromotor developmental delay and/or abnormality. Thus, the method provides a unique possibility to investigate a number of crucial issues in relation to cerebral abnormalities and sensory-motor development in at-risk children.


[1] Fallang, B., Saugstad, O. D., Grogaard, J., & Hadders-Algra, M. (2003). Kinematic quality of reaching movements in preterm infants. Pediatric Research, 53, 836-842.

[2] Domellöf, E., Rösblad, B., & Rönnqvist, L. (2009). Impairment severity selectively affects the control of proximal and distal components of reaching movements in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 51, 807-816.

[3] Rönnqvist, L., & Rösblad, B. (2007). Kinematic analysis on unimanual reaching and grasping movements in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Clinical Biomechanics, 22, 165-175.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Glasgow, Scotland, 2013. 53- p.
, Annual Meeting of ESMAC
Keyword [en]
Kinematik, upper-limb, preterm, children
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology; Physiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80117OAI: diva2:646675
22nd Annual Meeting of European Society for Movement Analysis in Adult and Children (ESMAC)
Swedish Research Council, 2011-179
Available from: 2013-09-09 Created: 2013-09-09 Last updated: 2014-03-12Bibliographically approved

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Rönnqvist, LouiseJohansson, Anna-MariaDomellöf, Erik
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