Cortical Functioning in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder: A Motor Overflow Study

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Licari, M ; Billington, J ; Reid, S ; Wann, JP ; Elliott, C ; Winsor, A ; Robins, E ; Thornton, AL ; Jones, R ; Bynevelt, M (2015)
  • Publisher: Springer Verlag

This study examined brain activation in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) to reveal areas that may contribute to poor movement execution and/or abundant motor overflow. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, 13 boys with DCD (mean age = 9.6 years ±0.8) and 13 typically developing controls (mean age = 9.3 years ±0.6) were scanned performing two tasks (finger sequencing and hand clenching) with their dominant hand, while a four-finger motion sensor recorded contralateral motor overflow on their non-dominant hand. Despite displaying increased motor overflow on both functional tasks during scanning, there were no obvious activation deficits in the DCD group to explain the abundant motor overflow seen. However, children with DCD were found to display decreased activation in the left superior frontal gyrus on the finger-sequencing task, an area which plays an integral role in executive and spatially oriented processing. Decreased activation was also seen in the left inferior frontal gyrus, an area typically active during the observation and imitation of hand movements. Finally, increased activation in the right postcentral gyrus was seen in children with DCD, which may reflect increased reliance on somatosensory information during the execution of complex fine motor tasks.
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