Effects of constraints (clothing and motion-capture devices) on treadmill steps in infants

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Investigators: Anniek Groenen, Anne Kruijsen, Genna Mulvey, Beverly Ulrich.

Analysis across studies conducted in this lab has suggested that the clothing and measurement equipment babies have worn while stepping on a treadmill may reduce their leg movements compared to when they wear nothing. To examine this, we supported infants with typical development on a treadmill to observe differences in the stepping movements they made under four different conditions: 1) Wearing nothing 2) Wearing a cloth swim diaper only 3) Wearing a disposable diaper only 4) Wearing a disposable diaper, tights, muscle sensors (EMG), and reflective markers on their legs. The long-term goal is to use the information from this proposed study as the basis for developing the protocols for treadmill therapy to assist infants with myelomeningiocele in learning to walk: It is important to determine what the child should wear during therapy to provide the best conditions for eliciting stepping movements while minimizing cleaning burdens on parents during at-home therapy sessions.

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