Infants constantly grow and change. Just in the first year of life, babies develop motor skills that allow them to make controlled movements such as sitting up, crawling, and for some, walking. While we do not know much about how these skills develop, researchers are gaining insight.
As the first to show which brain regions are involved in motor control development, these findings give scientists a way to study and solve problems that were not previously possible. For example, disorders associated with disruptions in REM sleep, such as autism and schizophrenia, are also commonly associated with motor-control problems. With this new insight on motor control development, researchers can begin teasing apart how sleep disruptions in infancy may interfere with motor-control development. And, how these disruptions contribute to the development or maintenance of certain disorders.