Print version ISSN 0185-3325
ALVARADO-RUIZ, Gerardo A et al. The complex elementary human movements: Normal postnatal development. Preliminar report of nine Mexican infants. Salud Ment [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.2, pp.99-107. ISSN 0185-3325.
Introduction The study of the early neonatal and infant behavior has called the attention of several researchers with the purpose of establishing an early diagnostic of neurological damage. Ferenc Katona identifies, from the 28th week of gestation to the third month of extrauterine life, a group of locomotion and verticalization innate behaviors which are called Complex Elementary Movements (CEM). These sequences of generalized motor activity of central origin, with automatic movements, generate sensory impulses to the spinal cord, brainstem and superior systems in response to gravitational and acceleration stimulus. These impulses cause continuous and repetitive movements of the head, trunk and limbs, and lead to verticalization and locomotion. They also prefigure the human behavior by organizing structures and cerebral functions ontogenetically mature at birth and with greater resistance to damage. In normal European neonates and infants, the constancy and stability has allowed for the diagnose of early Nervous System dysfunction (SN). European researchers have applied procedures that include CEM for neurohabilitation. Katona explains that when CEM are induced, they stimulate the vestibular system performance. The repetitive and/or sustained muscular contractions of trunk and extremities during the attempts of verticalize or locomotion, transmit new stimulus that strengthen the initial stimulation. During the time that the infant maintains the pattern activation, the thalamus, basal ganglia and cerebral cortex are stimulated, simultaneously and proportionally, occurring changes in the muscular tone, the movement dynamics and posture within a critical period of cerebral plasticity. The movements of head, trunk and extremities are refined or reorganized as in normal child maturity (development). This prevents and avoids risks and altered functions. In Mexico, according to the information sources reviewed, there are no studies describing the normal postnatal development variations. It is important to differentiate normal movements from the pathological ones to make early diagnosis of neurological damage in Mexican populations. Material and methods The Tlalpan outpatient family medicine clinic of the Institute of Security and Social Services for State Employees (ISSSTE) referred 25 infants, considered with low perinatal biological risk, residents of Mexico City. The Heinz Prechtl neurological sieve was applied to each infant to confirm an adequate neurological maturity. Fifteen infants fulfilled the inclusion criteria, the parents of nine infants agreed on their child participation in four evaluations, scheduled monthly, according to the day of birth. The parents signed the informed consent letter. In each evaluation, the ten maneuvers of activation were applied twice. They were distributed 6 at the first month, 9 at 2 and 3 months, and 8 at 4 months. Five maneuvers were applied to activate locomotion: Mcgraw, Bauer, reinforced Bauer, crawling on an inclinate slide and assisted crawling. Also five maneuvers were put into practice for verticalization: carry sitting, antigravity verticalization, stand up reaction, elementary walking and sitting in the air. Five behaviors and movements were described: crying, visual behavior (eyes closed or open with or without visual fixation), limbs, trunk and head movements. The evaluations were recorded in 8mm digital format and reviewed instantly during the evaluation. The camera's timer was used to measure the time they took to activate movements of locomotion or verticalization. To calculate frequencies and central tendency measures, the SAS statistical software JMP, version 7.0 was used. Results 320 activating maneuvers were used, 82.5% activated locomotion and 58% verticalization. The children awoked spontaneously with rude movements and cried, in 63% of the evaluations including the five locomotion patterns: 58.7% in the Alternating Cross Pattern (ACP), 10% for the Incomplete Simultaneous Pattern (ISP), 10% in the Lower Limb Alternating Pattern (LLAP), 1.25% on Complete Simultaneous Pattern (CSP) 2.5% and Homolateral Pattern (HP). The most frequent pattern observed was the Alternate Cross Pattern (PAC) 58.7% and the less frequent was the Homolateral Pattern (PH) 1.25%. In verticalization two patterns were observed: 58% with complete trunk and head alignment, 42% with incomplete alignment. The latencies to enable MEC were from 0-120 seconds, with M 27.7, DE ±48.8 for locomotion and M 9.43, DE ±20.7 for verticalization. Opening the eyes and visual fixation in the locomotion maneuvers occurred in the 43%, 20% in the first month, 31% in the 2nd month, 42% in the 3rd month and 75% in the 4th month. Verticalization maneuvers occurred in 64%, 47% in the first month, 49% in the second month, 64% in the 3rd month and 95% in the 4th month. As the children grew, the open eye and visual fixation conducts increased in presence. Locomotion appeared in the 43% of the children and verticalization in 64%. Discussion Katona reports that the MEC activation is given from birth to three months, with exception in two maneuvers: crawling on an inclined slide that appears until two months and on the four month the manifestation of elementary march. In this research, the locomotion and ver-ticalization patterns appeared sometimes until the fourth month, with frequencies that change in 12% to 100% of the cases according to the maneuvers form. Two patterns were identified but not described, the PH with a case frecuency of 1.25% and the PSC with 2.5%. Katona suggested that infants up to three months old are able to activate several seconds to complete verticalization, due to vestibular activity. In our experience, until two months they are mainly short and incomplete patterns of vertical integration then completed and sustained during the third and fourth month. Concerning the time required to activate MEC, Katona reported latencies of 5-100 sec. with absence of responses until the 4th month. Except for elementary walking, we observed that the latency time varies with age. In this investigation the locomotion time was 27.7 sec average, founding 0-120 sec intervals. In verticalization, latencies were faster than the average latency time of 9.43 sec. With intervals of latency in the first two months of age of 0-19 sec. elementary walking and the stand up reaction with age took but in activating and to the fourth month in several cases no longer they appeared. Katona reported that the newborn is capable of a brief visual fixation with the presentation of the face or with a flashing object 20cm away. The results of the locomotion and verticalization maneuvers showed that the behavior was present in the first month, in less of the 50% locomotion assessments and in less of 70% in verticalization. When the maneuver allowed controlling the head or maintaining the face to face line sight, the infant opened and fixed visually. Conclusions In the nine Mexican infants explored, variations were reported in the postnatal MEC evolution, with respect to the age of appearing, patterns type, trunk and limbs movements, time required for activation (latencies), visual activity and crying presence were not observed. If these variations are confirmed we could establish more accurate reference parameters and analyze their relationship with biological and environmental factors. Thus, to strengthen a prevention method in neurohabilitation/neurorehabilitation for high-risk population benefit.
Keywords : Ferenc Katona; innate behaviors; elementary complex human movements; development; infants.