By Amy Vega - March 30, 2012
The front portion of the brain, or frontal lobes, are particularly vulnerable to damage during accidents. Individuals with traumatic brain injury frequently have what is called a “frontal lobe injury.” This is significant because this area of the brain is responsible for so many important skills for successful community reintegration: our personality and mood, our ability to plan and organize events, to manage and monitor time, to focus our attention and problem-solve, to sequence and coordinate motor movements, and the list goes on and on. These skills also all depend upon timing in the brain, timing for when to say something or when to keep silent, for anticipating the amount of time it will take to accomplish a task or to get somewhere, for knowing how much time you’ve just spent on a project, or the minute neural timing that we don’t think about at all when we move our arm to pick up a glass of water. Scientists have discovered that the frontal lobes, in particular the middle and right side, are responsible for so many of our skills that depend upon timing (Pictno et al, 2006). We often see impairment in the above-listed time-dependent skills due to damage to this part of the brain following traumatic brain injury. Many traditional therapies focus on teaching the person with traumatic brain injury to “compensate” for deficits in attention, organization, planning, problem-solving, and coordination. Interactive Metronome (IM) training, however, offers hope for recovery by addressing the underlying problem in “frontal lobe injuries,” a problem with timing in the brain, thereby improving cognitive, behavioral, and motor skills.
Pictno, T.W., Stuss, D.T., Shallice, T., Alexander, M.P., and Gillingham, S. (2006). Keeping time: Effects of focal frontal lesions. Neuropsychologia, 44, 1195-1209.