Research Papers

Nonlinear Analysis of Human Movement Dynamics Offers New Insights in the Development of Motor Control During Childhood

[+] Author and Article Information
Maria Cristina Bisi

Department of Electrical, Electronic and
Information Engineering “Guglielmo Marconi,”
University of Bologna,
Viale Risorgimento 2,
Bologna 40126, Italy
e-mail: mariacristina.bisi@unibo.it

Paola Tamburini, Giulia Pacini Panebianco, Rita Stagni

Department of Electrical, Electronic and
Information Engineering “Guglielmo Marconi,”
University of Bologna,
Viale Risorgimento 2,
Bologna 40126, Italy

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received January 25, 2018; final manuscript received July 13, 2018; published online August 20, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Giuseppe Vairo.

J Biomech Eng 140(11), 111002 (Aug 20, 2018) (5 pages) Paper No: BIO-18-1051; doi: 10.1115/1.4040939 History: Received January 25, 2018; Revised July 13, 2018

When aiming at assessing motor control development, natural walking (NW), and tandem walking (TW) are two locomotor tasks that allow analyzing different characteristics of motor control performance. NW is the reference locomotor task, expected to become more and more automatic with age. TW is a nonparadigmatic task used in clinics to highlight eventual impairments and to evaluate how a child deals with a new challenging motor experience. This work aims at investigating motor development in school-aged children, by assessing quantitatively their performance during TW and NW. Eighty children (6–10 years) participated in the study. Trunk acceleration data and nonlinear measures (recurrence quantification analysis (RQA), and multiscale entropy (MSE)) were used to characterize trunk postural control and motor complexity. The results were analyzed with respect to age and standard clinical assessment of TW (number of correct consecutive steps), by means of Spearman correlation coefficients. RQA and MSE allowed highlighting age-related changes in both postural control of the trunk and motor complexity, while classic standard assessment of TW resulted uniformly distributed in the different age groups. The present results suggest this quantitative approach as relevant when assessing the motor development in schoolchildren and complementary to standard clinical tests.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Boxplot (median, 25th and 75th percentiles) of TW-competence for each age group

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

TW-competence distribution for male (left) and female (right) participants



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