General Movements

The study

Assessment of the quality of general movements (GMs) is a sensitive tool for evaluation of the integrity of the young nervous system. GMs are spontaneous movements involving all parts of the body. They arise early in fetal life and persist till 3-4 months after term age when goal directed behaviour emerges.

We currently assess

  • kinematic properties of GMs in order to evaluate whether it is possible to develop automatic systems for movement analysis.
  • muscle coordination patterns and brain activity during typical and atypical GMs in order to better understand pathophysiological mechanisms underlying atypical GMs (BAMBI project).
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  • long-term significance of specific characteristics of atypical GMs.
  • relation between prenatal, perinatal and neonatal conditions, quality of GMs and developmental outcome.


Linze Dijkstra (1,2)
Developmental Neurology, UMCG

Mijna Hadders-Algra, MD, PhD (1, 2, 3, 4)
Developmental Neurology, UMCG

Elisa Hamer, MD, PhD (1, 2, 3)
Developmental Neurology, UMCG

Nikolas Hesse (1)
Fraunhofer Institute, Ettlingen

Sebastian Schröder, MD
Dr. von Haunersches Kinderspital, München

Lilian Straathof, MD
Developmental Neurology, UMCG

Uta Tacke, MD
Universitäts-Kinderspital, beider Basel

Ying-Chin Wu, PT, PhD
Developmental Neurology, UMCG


Key publications

  • Hadders-Algra M. General movements: a window for early identification of children at high risk of developmental disorders. J Pediatr 2004; 145: S12-8.
  • Groen SE, de Blécourt ACE, Postema K, Hadders-Algra M. Quality of general movements predicts neuromotor development at the age of 9-12 years. Dev Med Child Neurol 2005; 47: 731-8.
  • Hadders-Algra M. Putative neural substrate of normal and abnormal general movements. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2007; 31: 1181-90.
  • Bouwstra H, Dijck-Stigter GR, Grooten HMJ, Janssen-Plas FEM, Koopmans AJ, Mulders CD, Van Belle A, Hadders-Algra M. Predictive value of definitely abnormal GMs at three months in the general population. Dev Med Child Neurol, 2010; 52: 456-61.
  • Hamer EG, Bos AF, Hadders-Algra M. Assessment of specific characteristics of abnormal General Movements: does it enhance the prediction of cerebral palsy? Dev Med Child Neurol  2011; 53: 751-6.
  • Karch D, Kim K-S, Wochner K, Philippi H, Hadders-Algra M, Pietz J, Dickhaus H. Objective Assessment of Stereotypy in Spontaneous Movements of Infants at high risk for cerebral palsy. Gait & Posture 2012; 36:307-11.
  • Philippi H, Karch D, Kang K-S, Wochner K, Pietz J, Dickhaus H, Hadders-Algra M. Computer-based analysis of General Movements reveals stereotypies predicting CP. Dev Med Child Neurol 2014;56:960-7.
  • Hadders-Algra M. Early diagnosis and early intervention in cerebral palsy. Front Neurol. 2014 Sep 24;5:185. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00185.
  • Bennema AN, Schendelaar P, Seggers J, Haadsma ML, Heineman MJ, Hadders-Algra M. Predictive value of general movements' quality in low-risk infants for minor neurological dysfunction and behavioural problems at preschool age. Early Hum Dev 2016; 94:19-24.
  • Hamer EG, Bos AF, Hadders-Algra M. Specific characteristics of abnormal general movements are associated with outcome at school-age. Early Hum Dev 2016; 95:9-13.
  • Hamer EG, Dijkstra LJ, Hooijsma SJ, Zijdewind I, Hadders-Algra M. Knee jerk responses in infants at high risk for cerebral palsy: an observational EMG study. Pediatr Res, 2016; 80: 363-70.
  • Van Iersel PAM, Bakker SCM, Jonker AJN, Hadders-Algra M. Does quality of general movements in full-term infants predict cerebral palsy and milder forms of limited mobility at six years? Dev Med Child Neurol, 2016;58:1310-6.
  • De Bock F, Will H, Behrenbeck U, Jarczok MN, Hadders-Algra M, Philippi H. Predictive value of General Movement Assessment for preterm infants' development at 2 years - implementation in clinical routine in a non-academic setting. Res Dev Disabilities 2017; 62: 69-80.
  • Novak I, Morgan C, Adde L, Brunstrom-Hernandez J, Blackman J, Boyd RN, Cioni G, Damiano D, Darrah J, deVries L, Eliasson AC, Einspieler C, Fahey M, Fehlings D, Ferriero DM, Fetters L, Fiori S, Forssberg H, Gordon AM, Greaves S, Guzzetta A, Harbourne R, Hadders-Algra M, Kakooza A, Karlsson P, Krumlinde-Sundholm L, Latal B, Loughran-Fowlds A, Maitre NL, McIntyre S, Noritz G, Pennington L, Romeo D, Shepherd RB, Spittle AJ, Thornton M, Valentine J, Walker K, White R, Badawi N. Cerebral Palsy: advances in early diagnosis. JAMA Pediatr. 2017; 171;897-907.
  • Hadders-Algra M. Neural substrate and clinical significance of general movements: an update. Dev Med Child Neurol, 2018; 60: 39-46.
  • Hadders-Algra M. Early human brain development: starring the subplate. Neurosci Biobehav Res 2018; 92: 276-90.
  • Hadders-Algra M, Philippi H. Predictive validity of General Movement Assessment: type of population studied may matter more than type of assessment. Dev Med Child Neurol 2018; 60: 1186
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