Nadia Dominici

Nadia Dominici
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | VU · Faculty of Human Movement Sciences

PhD

About

50
Publications
17,753
Reads
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2,903
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2016 - present
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
June 2015 - June 2016
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
May 2014 - June 2015
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Full-text available
New-borns can step when supported for about 70–80% of their own body weight. Gravity-related sensorimotor information might be an important factor in developing the ability to walk independently. We explored how body weight support alters motor control in toddlers during the first independent steps and in toddlers with about half a year of walking...
Preprint
Accelerometers are low-cost measurement devices that can readily be used outside the lab. However, determining isolated gait events from accelerometer signals, especially foot-off events during running, is an open problem. We outline a two-step approach where machine learning serves to predict vertical ground reaction forces from accelerometer sign...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to walk without support usually develops in the first year of a typically developing toddler’s life and matures further in the following years. Mature walking is characterized by the correct timing of the different gait phases that make up a full gait cycle formed by stance, swing, and double support phases. The harmony of mature walkin...
Article
Full-text available
The first years of life might be critical for encouraging independent walking in children with cerebral palsy (CP). We sought to identify mechanisms that may underlie the impaired development of walking in three young children with early brain lesions, at high risk of CP, via comprehensive instrumented longitudinal assessments of locomotor patterns...
Article
Full-text available
Muscle synergies reflect the presence of a common neural input to multiple muscles. Steering small sets of synergies is commonly believed to simplify the control of complex motor tasks like walking and running. When these locomotor patterns emerge, it is likely that synergies emerge as well. We hence hypothesized that in children learning to run th...
Conference Paper
Muscle synergy assessments are often employed to evaluate the modular organization of the spinal cord during a locomotion task. While they provide valuable insights into the pattern formation of the alpha-motoneurons at the spinal cord, by construction they cannot capture control from supra-spinal layers. We examined how locomotor muscle synergies...
Article
Full-text available
Early brain lesions which produce cerebral palsy (CP) may affect the development of walking. It is unclear whether or how neuromuscular control, as evaluated by muscle synergy analysis, differs in young children with CP compared to typically developing (TD) children with the same walking ability, before and after the onset of independent walking. H...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose We sought to identify the developing maturity of walking and running in young children. We assessed gait patterns for the presence of flight and double support phases complemented by mechanical energetics. The corresponding classification outcomes were contrasted via a shotgun approach involving several potentially informative gait characte...
Article
Full-text available
When walking speed is increased, the frequency ratio between the arm and leg swing switches spontaneously from 2:1 to 1:1. We examined whether these switches are accompanied by changes in functional connectivity between multiple muscles. Subjects walked on a treadmill with their arms swinging along their body while kinematics and surface electromyo...
Chapter
In this chapter, we explore the use of motion tracking methodology in developmental research. With motion tracking, also called motion capture, human movements can be precisely recorded and analyzed. Motion tracking provides developmental researchers with objective measurements of motor and (socio-)cognitive development. It can further be used to c...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Walking problems in children with cerebral palsy (CP) can in part be explained by limited selective motor control. Muscle synergy analysis is increasingly used to quantify altered neuromuscular control during walking. The early brain injury in children with CP may lead to a different development of muscle synergies compared to typically...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to explore the underlying age-related differences in dynamic motor control during different step ascent conditions using muscle synergy analysis. Eleven older women (67.0 y ± 2.5) and ten young women (22.5 y ± 1.6) performed stepping in forward and lateral directions at step heights of 10, 20 and 30 cm. Surface electromyog...
Article
Full-text available
In neuromotor control, the dimensionality of complex muscular activation patterns is effectively reduced through the emergence of muscle synergies. Muscle synergies are tailored to task-specific biomechanical needs. Traditionally, they are considered as low-dimensional neural output of the spinal cord and as such their coherent cortico-muscular pat...
Data
Supplementary information of 'The human sensorimotor cortex fosters muscle synergies through cortico-synergy coherence'.
Article
Full-text available
Background Children with cerebral palsy (CP) often show impaired selective motor control (SMC) that induces limitations in motor function. Children with CP can improve aspects of pathological gait in an immediate response to visual biofeedback. It is not known, however, how these gait adaptations are achieved at the neural level, nor do we know the...
Poster
Full-text available
BACKGROUND AND AIM: In neuromotor control, the dimensionality of complex muscular activation patterns is effectively reduced through using muscle synergies. Muscle synergies are tailored to task-specific biomechanical needs. Traditionally, they are considered as lowdimensional neural output of the spinal cord. As such, they have particularly been e...
Poster
Full-text available
When humans increase their walking speed from slow to normal walking the frequency ratio between arm and leg movements switches from 2:1 to 1:1 and the phase relationship between the arms changes from in-phase to anti-phase. Is this transition a mere by-product of mechanical constraints or is it coded in the (central) nervous system?
Poster
Full-text available
The frequency ratio between arm and leg movements switches from 2:1 to 1:1 and the phase relationship between the arms changes from in-phase to anti-phase when humans increase their speed from loaf to normal walking. Are transitions in frequency and phase locking mere by-products of mechanical constraints or do they reflect distinct motor control s...
Presentation
Full-text available
When people increase their walking speed, there is a concurrent transition in the frequency ratio between arm and leg movements from 2:1 to 1:1. At the same time the phase relationship changes between arms from in-phase to out-of-phase. Whether this transition is just a by-product of mechanical or energetic constraints or if it reflects peculiar mo...
Article
Significance statement: We mapped the neuronal population responses in the hindlimb motor cortex to hindlimb kinematics and hindlimb muscle synergies across a spectrum of natural locomotion behaviors. Robust task-specific neuronal population responses revealed that the rat motor cortex displays similar modulation as other mammals during locomotion...
Poster
Full-text available
We investigated how the slow-to normal walking transition is reflected in the muscle synergies, using EMG and kinematics recordings. Changes in speed-induced coordination between arms and legs seemed to coincide with changes in muscle synergy organisation.
Article
Electrical neuromodulation of lumbar segments improves motor control after spinal cord injury in animal models and humans. However, the physiological principles underlying the effect of this intervention remain poorly understood, which has limited the therapeutic approach to continuous stimulation applied to restricted spinal cord locations. Here w...
Article
Full-text available
Decoding forelimb movements from the firing activity of cortical neurons has been interfaced with robotic and prosthetic systems to replace lost upper limb functions in humans. Despite the potential of this approach to improve locomotion and facilitate gait rehabilitation, decoding lower limb movement from the motor cortex has received comparativel...
Article
Full-text available
Experimental and clinical studies suggest that primate species exhibit greater recovery after lateralized compared to symmetrical spinal cord injuries. Although this observation has major implications for designing clinical trials and translational therapies, advantages in recovery of nonhuman primates over other species have not been shown statist...
Article
Full-text available
This Provisional PDF corresponds to the article as it appeared upon acceptance, after rigorous peer-review. Fully formatted PDF and full text (HTML) versions will be made available soon.
Article
Full-text available
Human stepping movements emerge in utero and show several milestones during development to independent walking. Recently, imaging has become an essential tool for investigating the development and function of pattern generation networks in the spinal cord. Here we examine the development of the spinal segmental output by mapping the distribution of...
Article
Full-text available
On Earth only a few legged species, such as water strider insects, some aquatic birds and lizards, can run on water. For most other species, including humans, this is precluded by body size and proportions, lack of appropriate appendages, and limited muscle power. However, if gravity is reduced to less than Earth's gravity, running on water should...
Data
Lizard.mov. A movie showing how the Basilisk lizard (Basiliscus basiliscus) runs on the water surface. (MOV)
Data
16%.mov. A movie showing one of our subjects running in place on water at a simulated gravity of 1/6 of gEARTH (corresponding to the Moon gravity). (MOV)
Article
Full-text available
Half of human spinal cord injuries lead to chronic paralysis. Here, we introduce an electrochemical neuroprosthesis and a robotic postural interface designed to encourage supraspinally mediated movements in rats with paralyzing lesions. Despite the interruption of direct supraspinal pathways, the cortex regained the capacity to transform contextual...
Article
Full-text available
Central nervous system (CNS) disorders distinctly impair locomotor pattern generation and balance, but technical limitations prevent independent assessment and rehabilitation of these subfunctions. Here we introduce a versatile robotic interface to evaluate, enable and train pattern generation and balance independently during natural walking behavi...
Article
Full-text available
How rudimentary movements evolve into sophisticated ones during development remains unclear. It is often assumed that the primitive patterns of neural control are suppressed during development, replaced by entirely new patterns. Here we identified the basic patterns of lumbosacral motoneuron activity from multimuscle recordings in stepping neonates...
Article
Full-text available
Vision can improve bipedal upright stability during standing and locomotion. However, during locomotion, vision supports additional behaviors such as gait cycle modulation, navigation, and obstacle avoidance. Here, we investigate how the multiple roles of vision are reflected in the dynamics of trunk control as the neural control problem changes fr...
Article
Full-text available
During the evolution of bipedal modes of locomotion, a sequential rostrocaudal activation of trunk muscles due to the undulatory body movements was replaced by more complex and discrete bursts of activity. Nevertheless, the capacity for segmental rhythmogenesis and the rostrocaudal propagation of spinal cord activity has been conserved. In humans,...
Article
The concept of body schema has been introduced and widely discussed in the literature to explain various clinical observations and distortions in the body and space representation. Here we address the role of body schema related information in multi-joint limb motion. The processing of proprioceptive information may differ significantly in static a...
Article
In adults, locomotor movements are accommodated to various support surface conditions by means of specific anticipatory locomotor adjustments and changes in the intersegmental coordination. Here we studied the kinematic strategies of toddlers at the onset of independent walking when negotiating various support surface conditions: stepping over an o...
Article
Full-text available
Friction and gravity represent two basic physical constraints of terrestrial locomotion that affect both motor patterns and the biomechanics of bipedal gait. To provide insights into the spatiotemporal organization of the motor output in connection with ground contact forces, we studied adaptation of human gait to steady low-friction conditions. Su...
Article
Full-text available
When walking, step length provides critical information on traveled distance along the ongoing path [corrected] Little is known on the role that knowledge about body dimensions plays within this process. Here we directly addressed this question by evaluating whether changes in body proportions interfere with computation of traveled distance for tar...
Article
Full-text available
The idea that the CNS may control complex interactions by modular decomposition has received considerable attention. We explored this idea for human locomotion by examining limb kinematics. The coordination of limb segments during human locomotion has been shown to follow a planar law for walking at different speeds, directions, and levels of body...
Article
Surprisingly, despite millions of years of bipedal walking evolution, the gravity-related pendulum mechanism of walking does not seem to be implemented at the onset of independent walking, requiring each toddler to develop it. We discuss the precursor of the mature locomotor pattern in infants as an optimal starting point strategy for gait maturati...
Article
Full-text available
On earth, body weight is an inherent constraint, and accordingly, load-regulating mechanisms play an important role in terrestrial locomotion. How do toddlers deal with the effects of their full body weight when faced with the task of independent upright locomotion for the first time? Here we studied the effect of load variation on walking in 12 to...
Article
Muscle activity occurring during human locomotion can be accounted for by five basic temporal activation patterns in a variety of locomotion conditions. Here, we examined how these activation patterns interact with muscle activity required for a voluntary movement. Subjects produced a voluntary movement during locomotion, and we examined the result...
Article
Full-text available
When a toddler starts to walk without support, gait kinematics and electromyographic (EMG) activity differ from those of older children and the body displays considerable oscillations due to poor equilibrium. Postural instability clearly affects motor patterns in adults, but does instability explain why toddlers walk with a different gait? Here we...
Article
Full-text available
The inverted pendulum model in which the centre of mass of the body vaults over the stance leg in an arc represents a basic mechanism of bipedal walking. Is the pendulum mechanism innate, or is it learnt through walking experience? We studied eight toddlers (about 1 year old) at their first unsupported steps, 18 older children (1.3-13 years old), a...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The overall aim of the study is to characterise the underlying mechanisms of the development of walking in children with cerebral palsy (CP), through the combined measurement of EMG and EEG. Unveiling these mechanisms of (pathological) motor development might open up new paradigms for early intervention in CP.