Coordinated Spontaneous Baby Movements

Coordinated Spontaneous Baby Movements
Coordinating Spontaneous Baby Movements - Markers for the motion capture camera were gently applied to the baby's limbs, head and tummy allowing the team to capture the full range of motion. Credit: 2022 Kanazawa et al.

Babies' spontaneous, random movements help build their sensory-motor systems, according to the latest research by the University of Tokyo. To assess whole-body muscle communication and sensation, the researchers integrated detailed motion captures of newborns and infants with a musculoskeletal computer model.

Based on the babies' irrational exploratory activities, the researchers discovered patterns of muscle contact that would then enable babies to make sequential movements.

How Does Our Sensory System Develop?

If we can better understand how our sensory system grows, we can better understand the origins of human movement and make early detection of developmental abnormalities.

Soon after birth, babies start kicking, writhing, and moving for no apparent purpose or external stimuli. These are called "spontaneous movements" and scientists consider them crucial for the growth of the sensorimotor system (the capacity to control muscles, movement, and coordination).

If researchers can better understand these seemingly random movements and how they play a role in early human development, they may be able to spot early signs of certain developmental problems, such as cerebral palsy.

There is currently a lack of research on how babies and children learn to move. According to Professor Hoshinori Kanazawa, “Previous work on sensorimotor development has focused on kinematic properties, muscle activities that create movement in a joint or part of the body.”

“However, the focus of our research was whole-body sensory input signals and muscle activity. We discovered that spontaneous movements that seem to have no clear purpose or goal contribute to coordinated sensorimotor development by integrating a musculoskeletal model with neuroscientific methodology.

Scientists first used motion capture equipment to capture the joint movements of 12 healthy newborns and 10 toddlers. They then used a whole-body, infant-scale musculoskeletal computer model they had developed to assess the newborns' muscle activity and sensory input data.

The spatio-temporal characteristics of the relationship between input signals and muscle activity were then analyzed using computer methods.

“We were surprised that the newborns' movements were 'stray' and followed different sensory contacts during spontaneous movement.

The development of the sensorimotor system is widely thought to depend on the occurrence of repeated sensorimotor contacts, meaning that the more often you perform a certain action, the more likely you are to learn and remember it.

“However, our findings suggest that newborns form their own sensory-motor system based on exploratory behavior or curiosity, thus performing a series of activities rather than just repeating the same activity. The conceptual relationship between early spontaneous movements and spontaneous neural activity was also demonstrated by our findings.

Previous research in both humans and animals has shown that a limited number of simple muscle control models are involved in motor activity (movement).

These are the types of patterns often seen in repetitive or task-specific actions such as walking or lying down.

The findings of this latest study support the idea that newborns and infants can develop sensory-motor modules (synchronous muscle movements and sensory inputs) through unplanned, spontaneous whole-body movements.

The infants showed an increase in predictive movements and synchronized whole-body movements even during sensorimotor circulation. Compared to the random movements of the newborn group, the movements of the infant group had more repetitive patterns and sequential movements.

The impact of sensorimotor navigation on later development such as walking and reaching, as well as more complex behaviors and higher cognitive processes will be the next area of ​​study for Kanazawa.

source: neurosciencenews


Günceleme: 28/12/2022 23:36

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