One child in every classroom in the US (~6% of all children) suffers from Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). This motor learning disorder significantly interferes with academic achievement and the ability to perform activities of daily living requiring motor coordination. Children with DCD exhibit marked delays in sensorimotor integration, movement planning, and adaptive visuomotor behavior. It is not known if the functional impairments exhibited by children with DCD are related to """"""""atypical brain development"""""""" as proposed by Kaplan et al. (1998) or delayed brain development. Thus, the broad, long-term objective of the proposed research, and the associated career training plan, is to examine structural and functional brain development related to the ability to plan and re-plan accurate visuomotor behaviors (i.e. inhibit an old plan and formulate a new plan). Given that skilled visuomotor behaviors are related to refined functional communication and precise activation of relevant sensorimotor areas in adults, we expect that these indices of brain function will be sensitive to differences between typically-developing (TD) children and children with DCD. Importantly, we may determine if functional differences are attributed, in part, to abnormal or delayed structural brain development of areas related to sensorimotor integration, motor planning and visuomotor coordination. Structural MRI and high-density electroencephalography (EEG) will be recorded from children with DCD and TD age-matched controls (mean age 10) as well as young TD children (mean age 7) and adults. The groups of TD children and adults will provide a developmental landscape used for comparison with the children with DCD. The participants will perform line drawing movements with the left or right hand towards cued lateralized visual targets presented on a computer screen. The subsequent specific alms will determine if differences are evident between children with DCD and the TD groups (young children, older children and adults: 1) Structural brain development underlying sensorimotor integration and motor planning;2) The relationship bettween motor planning and functional communication within and among brain hemispheres;3) The relationship between cortical (hemispheric) laterality and the quality of motor planning;and, 4) The relationship between prefrontal executive processes (inhibition and selective attention) and adaptive motor planning (re-planning movements when visual targets shift unexpectedly). This study will provide novel insights on the relationship between structural development and functional outcomes at the level of electrocortical dynamics and motor behavior in TD children and children with DCD.
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