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Spontaneous leg movements in infants with and without periventricular leukomalacia: effects of unilateral weighting

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/02/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Behavioural Brain Research
Issue number1-2
Volume129
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)83-92
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate the contribution of the corticospinal tracts in the regulation and coordination of interlimb couplings and the spatio-temporal organization of kicking movements in young infants. Both healthy infants and those with differing degrees of periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) were subjected to a unilateral weight manipulation at the (corrected) age of 26 weeks. Infants with PVL were grouped according to the amount of damage in the area in which the corticospinal tracts are located as shown by neonatal MRI and confirmed with MRI recordings at 18 months. The main question asked was whether unilateral weighting would reveal different adjustment in infants with and without PVL and whether these differences were related to the severity of the lesions, if present. The major finding was that no differences were evident between groups in adjusting to the weight manipulation with regard to the tightness of interlimb couplings. This finding corroborates the suggestion that corticospinal influences are not directly involved in the regulation of these parameters. Although the same conclusion could be drawn concerning the kinematic details of kicks on the basis of group data, individual analyses revealed that kinematics in a few infants with PVL were markedly affected by the weighting. Thus, combining group with individual analyses may have additional value in the clinical interpretation of the effects of PVL on the neural functions of young infants.