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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
Steinhart, S., Weiss, P. L., & Friedman, J. (2021). Proximal and distal movement patterns during a graphomotor task in typically developing children and children with handwriting problems. J Neuroeng Rehabil, 18(1), 178.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Therapists specializing in handwriting difficulties in children often address motor problems including both proximal and distal movements in the upper extremity. Kinematic measures can be used to investigate various aspects of handwriting. This study examined differences in movement patterns in proximal and distal joints of the upper extremity during graphomotor tasks between typically developing children with and without handwriting problems. Additionally, it explored relationships between movement patterns, speed, and legibility of writing. METHODS: Forty-one children, aged 7-11 years, were assessed with the Aleph Aleph Ktav Yad Hebrew Handwriting assessment and the Beery Test of Visual Motor Integration and, based on their scores, were divided into a research group (with handwriting difficulties) and a control group (without handwriting difficulties). Upper extremity joint movement patterns were analyzed with a motion capture system. Differences in the quality of shapes traced and copied on a graphics tablet positioned horizontally and vertically were compared. Between-group differences and relationships with speed and legibility were analyzed. RESULTS: In both groups, there was greater movement in the distal compared to the proximal joints, greater movement when performing the task in a horizontal compared to a vertical plane, and greater movement when tracing than copying. Joint movements in the arm executed scaled-down versions of the shapes being drawn. While the amount of joint displacement was similar between groups, children in the research group showed greater dissimilarity between the drawn shape and the shape produced by the proximal joints. Finally, the drawing measure on the tablet was a significant predictor of legibility, speed of writing, visual motor integration and motor coordination, whereas the dissimilarity measure of joint movement was a significant predictor of speed of writing and motor coordination. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides support for the role of the distal upper extremity joints in the writing process and some guidance to assist clinicians in devising treatment strategies for movement-related handwriting problems. While we observed differences in proximal joint movements between the children with and without handwriting difficulties, the extent to which they are responsible for the differences in drawing quality remains to be determined. Further studies should use a similar methodology to examine additional tasks such as drawing shapes of varying sizes.
Keywords: Arm; Biomechanical Phenomena; Child; *Handwriting; Humans; Motor Skills; *Movement; Upper Extremity; Distal joints; Handwriting; Motor control; Movement analysis; Proximal; Stability