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Falk, B., Eliakim, A., Dotan, R., Liebermann, D. G., Regev, R., & Bar-Or, O. (1997). Birth weight and physical ability in 5- to 8-yr-old healthy children born prematurely. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 29(9), 1124–1130.
Abstract: Recent advances in perinatal care have resulted in increased survival rates of extremely small and immature newborns. This has resulted in some neurodevelopmental impairment. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate and compare neuromuscular performance in children born prematurely at various levels of subnormal birth weight (BW). Subjects were 5- to 8-yr-old children born prematurely at different levels of subnormal BW (535-1760 g, N = 22, PM), and age-matched controls born at full term (> 2500 g, N = 15, CON). None of the subjects had any clinically defined neuromuscular disabilities. Body mass (BM) of PM was lower than that of CON (18.3 +/- 2.7 vs 21.7 +/- 3.8 kg) with no difference in height or sum of 4 skinfolds. Peak mechanical power output determined with a 15-s modified Wingate Anaerobic Test and corrected for BM was lower (P = 0.07) in PM than in CON (5.11 +/- 1.07 vs 5.94 +/- 1.00 W.kg-1). This was especially noticeable in children born at extremely low BW (ELBW, < 1000 g, 4.49 +/- 1.04 W.kg-1, P < 0.01). Peak power, determined in a force-plate vertical jump, corrected for BM was lower in PM vs CON (25.5 +/- 5.4 vs 30.8 +/- 5.2 W.kg-1, respectively P = 0.01), especially in the ELBW group (20.0 +/- 5.5 W.kg-1). Similarly, the elapsed time between peak velocity and actual jump take-off was longer in PM than in CON (41.2 +/- 9.4 vs 35.8 +/- 5.8 ms, respectively, P = 0.04). No differences were observed in peak force. The results suggest that performance deficiencies of prematurely-born children may be a result of inferior inter-muscular coordination. The precise neuromotor factors responsible for this should be identified by future research.
Keywords: *Birth Weight; Child; Child Development/physiology; Child, Preschool; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Infant, Newborn; *Infant, Premature; Male; *Motor Skills; *Physical Fitness
Friedman, J., Amiaz, A., & Korman, M. (2022). The online and offline effects of changing movement timing variability during training on a finger-opposition task. Sci Rep, 12(1), 13319.
Abstract: In motor learning tasks, there is mixed evidence for whether increased task-relevant variability in early learning stages leads to improved outcomes. One problem is that there may be a connection between skill level and motor variability, such that participants who initially have more variability may also perform worse on the task, so will have more room to improve. To avoid this confound, we experimentally manipulated the amount of movement timing variability (MTV) during training to test whether it improves performance. Based on previous studies showing that most of the improvement in finger-opposition tasks comes from optimizing the relative onset time of the finger movements, we used auditory cues (beeps) to guide the onset times of sequential movements during a training session, and then assessed motor performance after the intervention. Participants were assigned to three groups that either: (a) followed a prescribed random rhythm for their finger touches (Variable MTV), (b) followed a fixed rhythm (Fixed control MTV), or (c) produced the entire sequence following a single beep (Unsupervised control MTV). While the intervention was successful in increasing MTV during training for the Variable group, it did not lead to improved outcomes post-training compared to either control group, and the use of fixed timing led to significantly worse performance compared to the Unsupervised control group. These results suggest that manipulating MTV through auditory cues does not produce greater learning than unconstrained training in motor sequence tasks.
Keywords: Fingers; Humans; *Learning; *Motor Skills; Movement; Psychomotor Performance; Upper Extremity