Kicking coordination captures differences between full-term and premature infants with white matter disorder

Linda Fetters, Yu Ping Chen, Johanna Jonsdottir, Edward Z. Tronick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the relation of white matter disorder (WMD) to intralimb coordination patterns in premature infants with very low birth weight (VLBW). We specifically measured the temporal-spatial characteristics of intralimb coordination patterns of the legs. Three groups of infants were compared at one month corrected age (CA): 10 premature infants born VLBW and WMD (PTWMD), 10 premature infants born VLBW without WMD (PT) and 10 full term infants (FT). Using kinematic variables, we discriminate among VLBW infants with WMD from the two comparison groups. Infants born with WMD maintain patterns of tight coupling among leg joints (all flexion or all extension) while PT and FT term infants have begun to decouple leg joints by this age (combinations of flexion with extension). The coupling pattern is captured through joint correlations, discrete relative phase, and phase plane portraits. The PTWMD infants also demonstrate aberrant patterns of coordination evident through both temporal and spatial characteristics of the kicks. This is the first evidence that movement disorder associated with brain lesions can be identified and quantified with kinematic variables as early as one month of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-748
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • Brain damage
  • Intralimb coordination
  • Preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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