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Age-related changes in upper limb motion during typical development

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BACKGROUND AND AIM: Understanding the maturation of upper limb (UL) movement characteristics in typically developing (TD) children is key to explore UL deficits in those with neurodevelopmental disorders. Three-dimensional motion analysis (3DMA) offers a reliable tool to comprehensively evaluate UL motion. However, studies thus far mainly focused on specific pre-defined parameters extracted from kinematic waveforms. Here, we investigated age-related differences in UL movement characteristics over the entire movement cycle in TD children. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: We assessed the non-dominant UL of 60 TD children (mean age 10y3m±3y1m) using 3DMA during eight tasks: reaching (forwards (RF), upwards (RU), sideways (RS)), reach-to-grasp (sphere (RGS), vertical cylinder (RGV)) and activities-of-daily-living mimicking tasks (hand-to-head (HTH), hand-to-mouth (HTM), hand-to-shoulder (HTS)). We investigated differences between four age-groups (5-7y, 8-10y, 11-12y, 13-15y) in: (1) spatiotemporal parameters (movement duration, peak velocity, time-to-peak velocity and trajectory straightness), and (2) 12 UL joint angles, using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM). RESULTS: We found that the 5-7y children moved with lower peak velocity and less straight trajectories compared to the 11-12y group (peak velocity: RS, HTS, p<0.01; trajectory: RU, RS, RGV, HTS, p<0.01) and the 13-15y group (peak velocity: RF, RS, RGS, RGV, HTH, HTS, p<0.01; trajectory, all tasks, p<0.01). The 5-7y children showed increased scapular protraction compared to older children (8-10y and 11-12y, HTS), as well as increased scapular medial rotation compared to the 13-15y group (RGS). During RU, the 5-7y children moved more towards the frontal plane (shoulder), unlike the 13-15y group. Lastly, the 5-7y group used less elbow flexion than older children (11-12y and 13-15y) during HTH and HTS. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our results point toward a maturation in UL movement characteristics up to age 11-12y, when UL motion seemed to reach a plateau. The reference values provided in this study will help to further optimize the interpretation of UL deficits in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Tijdschrift: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Issue: 6
Volume: 13
Aantal pagina's: 15
Jaar van publicatie:2018