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Characteristics of the developing human locomotor system: Similarities to other mammals

Characteristics of the developing human locomotor system: Similarities to other mammals

Developmental Psychobiology 57(4): 397-408

Similarities in the development of locomotion between young children and other mammals are explored by reanalysis of data accrued over ~18 years. Supported stepping in children was tested on a treadmill. Although the time course of development is more protracted in humans compared to other mammals, the same trends are seen. For example, the duration of the stepping cycle shortens rapidly in the first 5 months of life. Hypermetric flexion of the hip and knee during stepping is seen in children <3 mo old. Stability of the locomotor rhythm both with respect to cycle duration within a limb and coupling between limbs improves slowly. Finally, coordination between the left and right legs can be manipulated with training, indicating experience-dependent learning at a young age. The possible reasons for these remarkably similar trends in development are explored as a function of maturational time tables for neural structures.

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Accession: 057385262

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PMID: 25754858

DOI: 10.1002/dev.21289

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