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Ali Brian, Laura Bostick, Angela Starrett, Aija Klavina, Sally Taunton Miedema, Adam Pennell, Alex Stribing, Emily Gilbert and Lauren J. Lieberman

Fundamental motor skills (FMS) are the building blocks to more complex movement patterns, sport participation, and physical activity (PA; Clark & Metcalfe, 2002 ). FMS, which include locomotor skills (e.g., run, gallop, jump, leap, skip, slide, hop), must be taught in a developmentally appropriate

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Sheri L. Berkeley, Lauriece L. Zittel, Lisa V. Pitney and Stacia E. Nichols

The purpose of this study was to examine the locomotor and object control skills of children, ages 6–8 years, with autism and to compare their performances with the norms reported by Ulrich (1985) for the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD). Consistent with trends from the general population, differences were found between boys (n = 10) and girls (n = 5) with the largest differences found in the object control skill performances. Overall fundamental skill delays were demonstrated by 73% of all participants, placing them in the poor and very poor TGMD performance categories. These findings support the need to assess the gross motor skills of young children with autism in addition to other developmental skill areas outlined in diagnostic manuals.

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Mohsen Shafizadeh, Nicola Theis and Keith Davids

 al., 2018 ). A RaceRunning bike has three wheels (in a triangular orientation), a saddle, a chest plate, and two handlebars to regulate the user’s postural control and balance while engaging in locomotor patterns of walking and running (see Figure  1 ). It is estimated that during a 6-min RaceRunning trial

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Yvon Brenière

The principles of direct dynamics and oscillating systems have been used to study the development of gait parameters in children, with respect to their kinetic consequences on the oscillations of body center of mass (CM). In particular the equations established (a) a natural body frequency (NBF), a body parameter specific to oscillating movements which is invariant for adults and decreases with age for children, and (b) the amplitude ratio of CM to center-of-foot pressure (CP) oscillations as a parametric function of the step frequency, whose parameter is the NBF. This function was used to analyze the development of gait locomotors with respect to their kinetic effects on balance in the frontal plane. Five children were examined longitudinally during their first 5 years of independent walking (IW), and two cross-sectional groups between 5 and 7 years of IW were also considered. The results showed a shift toward the low end of step frequency bands as the NBF decreased along with in variances in the amplitudes of CM oscillation in both the frontal and sagittal planes, regardless of age and gait velocity. The biomechanical meaning of the NBF, of its decrease and of postural invariances associated with the decrease of the frequency, are discussed as well how the programming of locomotor parameters adapts to changes in body structure during gait development.

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Chantale Ferland, Hélène Moffet and Désirée B. Maltais

Ambulatory children and youth with cerebral palsy have limitations in locomotor capacities and in community mobility. The ability of three locomotor tests to predict community mobility in this population (N = 49, 27 boys, 6–16 years old) was examined. The tests were a level ground walking test, the 6-min-Walk-Test (6MWT), and two tests of advanced locomotor capacities, the 10-meter-Shuttle-Run-Test (10mSRT) and the Timed-Up-and-Down-Stairs-Test (TUDS). Community mobility was measured with the Assessment of Life Habits mobility category. After age and height were controlled, regression analysis identified 10mSRT and TUDS values as significant predictors of community mobility. They explained about 40% of the variance in the Life Habits mobility category scores. The 10mSRT was the strongest predictor (standardized Beta coefficient = 0.48, p = 0.002). The 6MWT was not a significant predictor. Thus, advanced locomotor capacity tests may be better predictors of community mobility in this population than level ground walking tests.

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Mark L. Shik

Microstimulation of the brain stem was performed in the mesencephalic mudpuppy. Repetitive (8-15 pps) stimulation of the lateral mesencephalic tegmentum elicited cyclic side-to-side movements of the tail or the body and stepping of the hindlimbs or forelimbs in different combinations. The association of all four components was most common, followed by the combined movements of the tail and the body; the tail, the hindlimbs, and the body; and the tail and the hindlimbs. Movements of the tail and the hindlimbs also occurred separately, but lateral undulation of the body was observed only in combinations, as was mainly stepping of the forelimbs. The cycle durations varied in different patterns: In particular, a cycle lasted 5 to 7 s for tail movements and 1.3 to 2 s for complete locomotion. Usually only one pattern was evoked by stimulating a particular site in the brain stem, but sometimes increasing the strength or frequency of stimulation involved an additional elementary synergy, thus forming a more complex pattern. Similar patterns could arise from stimulation of different sites. The order of involvement of components in the same complex pattern varied when stimuli were applied to different sites. The combinatorial composition and morphological specification are possible mechanisms of the broad repertoire of elicited locomotor patterns in the mudpuppy.

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Martin Gérin-Lajoie, Carol L. Richards and Bradford J. McFadyen

This article introduces a novel, ecological, obstructed walking paradigm. Gait adaptations to circumvent obstacles undergoing uncertain displacements, and the effect of revealing the obstacle’s action beforehand, were investigated in young adults. The personal space (PS) maintained during walking was quantified for the first time under different environmental factors including auditory distractions. Obstacle movement and its uncertainty resulted in gait adjustments aimed at gaining time to assess the situation. Early gait adaptations and constant clearances around the obstacle suggest that anticipation and preplanning are involved in such navigational tasks. Participants systematically maintained an elliptical PS during circumvention, but they adjusted its size according to different environmental factors. There was a relationship between the size of PS and level of attention, which suggests that the regulation of PS is used to control locomotion. This novel paradigm has important implications for the assessment and training of locomotor ability within real world environments.

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Karin G.M. Gerritsen, Anton J. van den Bogert, Manuel Hulliger and Ronald F. Zernicke

The purpose of this study was to investigate, theoretically, to what extent muscle properties could contribute to recovery from perturbations during locomotion. Four models with different actuator properties were created: the FLVT model, which encompassed force-length (FL) and force-velocity (FV) characteristics of human muscles as well as muscle stimulation inputs as functions of time (T); the FLT model, which had muscles without force-velocity characteristics; the FVT model, which had muscles without specific force-length characteristics; and the MT model, which had no muscles but was driven by joint moments (M) as a function of time. Each model was exposed to static and dynamic perturbations and its response was examined. FLVT showed good resistance to both static and dynamic perturbations. FLT was resistant to static perturbation but could not counteract dynamic perturbation, whereas the opposite was found for FVT. MT could not counteract either of the perturbations. Based on the results of the simulations, skeletal muscle force-length-velocity properties, although interactively complex, contribute substantially to the dynamic stability of the musculoskeletal system.

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Christopher McCrum, Katrin Eysel-Gosepath, Gaspar Epro, Kenneth Meijer, Hans H.C.M. Savelberg, Gert-Peter Brüggemann and Kiros Karamanidis

Posturography is used to assess balance in clinical settings, but its relationship to gait stability is unclear. We assessed if dynamic gait stability is associated with standing balance in 12 patients with unilateral vestibulopathy. Participants were unexpectedly tripped during treadmill walking and the change in the margin of stability (MoSchange) and base of support (BoSchange) relative to nonperturbed walking was calculated for the perturbed and first recovery steps. The center of pressure (COP) path during 30-s stance with eyes open and closed, and the distance between the most anterior point of the COP and the anterior BoS boundary during forward leaning (ADist), were assessed using a force plate. Pearson correlations were conducted between the static and dynamic variables. The perturbation caused a large decrease in the BoS, leading to a decrease in MoS. One of 12 correlations was significant (MoSchange at the perturbed step and ADist; r = −.595, P = .041; nonsignificant correlations: .068 ≤ P ≤ .995). The results suggest that different control mechanisms may be involved in stance and gait stability, as a consistent relationship was not found. Therefore, posturography may be of limited use in predicting stability in dynamic situations.

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Jean Jose da Silva, Fabio Augusto Barbieri and Lilian Teresa Bucken Gobbi

Crossing moving obstacles requires different space-time adjustments compared with stationary obstacles. Our aim was to investigate gait spatial and temporal parameters in the approach and crossing phases of a moving obstacle. We hypothesized that obstacle speed affects gait parameters, which allow us to distinguish locomotor strategies. Ten young adults walked and stepped over an obstacle that crossed their way perpendicularly, under three obstacle conditions: control—stationary obstacle, slow (1.07m/s) and fast speed (1.71m/s) moving obstacles. Gait parameters were different between obstacle conditions, especially on the slow speed. In the fast condition, the participants adopted predictive strategies during the approach and crossing phases. In the slow condition, they used an anticipatory strategy in both phases. We conclude that obstacle speed affects the locomotor behavior and strategies were distinct in the obstacle avoidance phases.