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Concept: Motor skill


Abstract Purpose: To develop a patient reported outcome measure of active and passive function in the hemiparetic upper limb. Methods: Potential items for inclusion were identified through (a) systematic review and analysis of existing measures and (b) analysis of the primary goals for treatment in a spasticity service. Item reduction was achieved through consultation with a small, purposively selected multi-disciplinary group of experienced rehabilitation professionals (n = 10) in a three-round Delphi process. This was followed by a confirmatory survey with a larger group of clinicians (n = 36) and patients and carers (n = 13 pairs). Results: From an initial shortlist of 75 items, 23 items were initially identified for inclusion in the arm activity measure (ArmA), and subsequently refined to a 20-item instrument comprising 7 passive and 13 active function. In common with the six measures identified in the systematic review, a five-point ordinal scaling structure was chosen, with ratings based on activity over the preceding 7 days. Conclusions: The ArmA is designed to measure passive and active function following focal interventions for the hemiparetic upper limb. Content and face validity have initially been addressed within the development process. The next phase of development has involved formal evaluation of psychometric properties. Implications for Rehabilitation In clinical practice or research, outcome measures in rehabilitation need to have face and content validity. Following stroke or brain injury, goals for rehabilitation of the hemiparetic upper limb may be: to restore active function, if there is return of motor control or to improve passive function making it easier to care for the limb (e.g. maintain hygiene) if no motor return is possible, measurement of both constructs should be considered. This study describes the systematic development of the ArmA, a measure of active and passive function in the hemiparetic upper limb.

Concepts: Traumatic brain injury, Psychometrics, Validity, Upper limb, Motor skill, Content validity, Face validity, Armas


From 4 to 7 April 2016, 24 researchers from 8 countries and from a variety of academic disciplines gathered in Snekkersten, Denmark, to reach evidence-based consensus about physical activity in children and youth, that is, individuals between 6 and 18 years. Physical activity is an overarching term that consists of many structured and unstructured forms within school and out-of-school-time contexts, including organised sport, physical education, outdoor recreation, motor skill development programmes, recess, and active transportation such as biking and walking. This consensus statement presents the accord on the effects of physical activity on children’s and youth’s fitness, health, cognitive functioning, engagement, motivation, psychological well-being and social inclusion, as well as presenting educational and physical activity implementation strategies. The consensus was obtained through an iterative process that began with presentation of the state-of-the art in each domain followed by plenary and group discussions. Ultimately, Consensus Conference participants reached agreement on the 21-item consensus statement.

Concepts: Psychology, Education, Exercise, Cognition, Educational psychology, Cycling, Motor skill, Leisure


Cell phone use during pregnancy is a public health concern. We investigated the association between maternal cell phone use in pregnancy and child’s language, communication and motor skills at 3 and 5 years.

Concepts: Cohort study, Public health, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, The Association, Mother, Mobile phone, Motor skill


Purpose: The aim of this case study was to examine the individual effects of an adapted physical activity, animal-assisted intervention (APA-AAI) with the family dog on motor skills, physical activity, and quality of life of a child with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: This study used an A-B-A single-subject design. The assessment phase (phase A) occurred pre- and post-intervention. This consisted of standardized assessments of motor skills, quality of life questionnaires, physical activity (measured using the GT3X+ accelerometer) and the human-animal bond. The intervention (phase B) lasted 8 weeks and consisted of adapted physical activities performed with the family dog once a week for 60 min in a lab setting. In addition, the participant had at-home daily activities to complete with the family dog. Results: Visual analysis was used to analyze the data. Motor skill performance, physical activity, quality of life and human animal interaction gains were observed in each case. Conclusions: These preliminary results provided initial evidence that the family-dog can play a role in healthy lifestyles through APA-AAI in children with CP.

Concepts: Scientific method, Evaluation, Evaluation methods, Motor control, Learning, Cerebral palsy, Motor skill, Motor skills


Basic understanding of motor control and its processes is a topic of well-known high relevance. During adolescence walking is theoretically a well-achieved fundamental skill, having reached a mature manifestation; on the other hand, adolescence is marked by a period of accelerated increases in both height and weight, referred as growth spurt. Thus, this period was chosen as a controlled and natural environment for partially isolating one of the factors influencing motor development (segment growth). The aim of the study was to compare gait performance of growing and not growing male adolescents during walking in single task (ST) and dual task (DT), in order to study which are the modifications that motor control handles when encountering a sudden change in segment length.

Concepts: Natural environment, Adolescence, Puberty, Control, Motor skill, Motor neuron


Exercise interventions in individuals with Parkinson’s disease incorporate goal-based motor skill training to engage cognitive circuitry important in motor learning. With this exercise approach, physical therapy helps with learning through instruction and feedback (reinforcement) and encouragement to perform beyond self-perceived capability. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease become more cognitively engaged with the practice and learning of movements and skills that were previously automatic and unconscious. Aerobic exercise, regarded as important for improvement of blood flow and facilitation of neuroplasticity in elderly people, might also have a role in improvement of behavioural function in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Exercises that incorporate goal-based training and aerobic activity have the potential to improve both cognitive and automatic components of motor control in individuals with mild to moderate disease through experience-dependent neuroplasticity. Basic research in animal models of Parkinson’s disease is beginning to show exercise-induced neuroplastic effects at the level of synaptic connections and circuits.

Concepts: Motor control, Skill, Strength training, Motor skill, Aerobic exercise, Motor skills


This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of a proposed occupational therapy home program (OTHP) for children with intellectual disabilities (ID). Children with ID were randomly and equally assigned to OTHP or to no OTHP groups. The primary outcome measures were Canadian Occupational Performance, Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Second Edition, and The Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment scores at 10 and 20 weeks. The 20-week OTHP produced significant difference in fine motor function, activity participation, and parent satisfaction with performance, compared to those of no OTHP. Pediatricians can advise families to implement 20 weeks of OTHP with an average 15min per session to facilitate functional changes of children with ID.

Concepts: Medicine, Randomness, Motor skill, Canadian model of occupational performance, Session


The Animal Fun program was designed to enhance the motor ability of young children by imitating the movements of animals in a fun, inclusive setting. The efficacy of this program was investigated through a randomized controlled trial using a multivariate nested cohort design. Pre-intervention scores were recorded for 511 children aged 4.83years to 6.17years (M=5.42years, SD=3.58months). Six control and six intervention schools were compared 6months later following the intervention, and then again at 18months after the initial testing when the children were in their first school year. Changes in motor performance were examined using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency short form. Data were analyzed using multi-level-mixed effects linear regression. A significant Condition×Time interaction was found, F(2,1219)=3.35, p=.035, demonstrating that only the intervention group showed an improvement in motor ability. A significant Sex×Time interaction was also found, F(2,1219)=3.84, p=.022, with boys improving over time, but not girls. These findings have important implications for the efficacy of early intervention of motor skills and understanding the differences in motor performance between boys and girls.

Concepts: Better, Pharmacology, Regression analysis, Cohort study, Improve, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Motor skill


Compared to proprioceptive afferent collateral projections, less is known about the anatomical, neurochemical and functional basis of nociceptive collateral projections modulating lumbar central pattern generators (CPG). Quick response times are critical to ensure rapid escape from aversive stimuli. Furthermore, sensitization of nociceptive afferent pathways can contribute to a pathological activation of motor circuits. We investigated the extent and role of collaterals of capsaicin-sensitive nociceptive sacrocaudal afferent (nSCA) nerves that directly ascend several spinal segments in Lissauer’s tract and the dorsal column and regulate motor activity. Anterograde tracing demonstrated direct multi-segmental projections of the sacral dorsal root 4 (S4) afferent collaterals in Lissauer’s tract and in the dorsal column. Subsets of the traced S4 afferent collaterals expressed transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), which transduces a nociceptive response to capsaicin. Electrophysiological data revealed that S4 dorsal root stimulation could evoke regular rhythmic bursting activity, and our data suggest that capsaicin sensitive collaterals contribute to CPG activation across multiple segments. Capsaicin’s effect on S4 evoked locomotor activity was potent until the lumbar 5 (L5) segments; and diminished in rostral segments. Using calcium imaging we found elevated calcium transients within the Lissauer’s tract and dorsal column at L5 segments when compared to the calcium transients only within the dorsal column at the lumbar 2 (L2) segments which were desensitized by capsaicin. We conclude that lumbar locomotor networks in the neonatal mouse spinal cord are targets for modulation by direct multisegmental nSCA, subsets of which express TRPV1 in the Lissauer’s tract and the dorsal column. J. Comp. Neurol., 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Spinal cord, Action potential, Ion channel, Module, Motor skill, Proprioception, Capsaicin, Collateral


Object Contralateral C-7 nerve transfer was developed for the treatment of patients with brachial plexus avulsion injury (BPAI). In the surgical procedure the affected recipient nerve is connected to the ipsilateral motor cortex, and the dramatic peripheral alteration may trigger extensive cortical reorganization. However, little is known about the long-term results after such specific nerve transfers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the long-term cortical adaptive plasticity after BPAI and contralateral C-7 nerve transfer. Methods In this study, 9 healthy male volunteers and 5 male patients who suffered from right-sided BPAI and had undergone contralateral C-7-transfer more than 5 years earlier were included. Functional MRI studies were used for the investigation of long-term cerebral plasticity. Results The neuroimaging results suggested that the ongoing cortical remodeling process after contralateral C-7 nerve transfer could last for a long period; at least for 5 years. The motor control of the reinnervated limb may finally transfer from the ipsilateral to the contralateral hemisphere exclusively, instead of the bilateral neural network activation. Conclusions The authors believe that the cortical remodeling may last for a long period after peripheral rearrangement and that the successful cortical transfer is the foundation of the independent motor recovery.

Concepts: Nervous system, Time, Surgery, Neuroscience, Cerebral cortex, Anatomy, Motor skill, Brachial plexus