2011 Volume 30 Issue 5 Pages 179-186
This study's aim was to evaluate the characteristics of newborn and young infants' spontaneous lower extremity movements by using dynamical systems analysis. Participants were 8 healthy full-term newborn infants (3 boys, 5 girls, mean birth weight and gestational age were 3070.6 g and 39 weeks). A tri-axial accelerometer measured limb movement acceleration in 3-dimensional space. Movement acceleration signals were recorded during 200 s from just below the ankle when the infant was in an active alert state and lying supine (sampling rate 200 Hz). Data were analyzed linearly and nonlinearly. As a result, the optimal embedding dimension showed more than 5 at all times. Time dependent changes started at 6 or 7, and over the next four months decreased to 5 and from 6 months old, increased. The maximal Lyapnov exponent was positive for all segments. The mutual information is at its greatest range at 0 months. Between 3 and 4 months the range in results is narrowest and lowest in value. The mean coefficient of correlation for the x-axis component was negative and y-axis component changed to a positive value between 1 month old and 4 months old. Nonlinear time series analysis suggested that newborn and young infants' spontaneous lower extremity movements are characterized by a nonlinear chaotic dynamics with 5 to 7 embedding dimensions. Developmental changes of an optimal embedding dimension showed a U-shaped phenomenon. In addition, the maximal Lyapnov exponents were positive for all segments (0.79–2.99). Infants' spontaneous movement involves chaotic dynamic systems that are capable of generating voluntary skill movements.