By Amy Vega - July 23, 2014
Is IM training helpful for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s?
I’ve received this question many times over the years. We know from contemporary and peer-reviewed research that individuals who are aging demonstrate decline in their ability to discriminate time. Those with Alzheimer’s have marked difficulty with this. The question at hand is will an intervention that fine-tunes temporal processing improve the cognitive and motor symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and if so, how long will the results last for individuals with this terrible, neurodegenerative disease? We can make a rational argument for using IM to improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s if we look critically at the science.
“Several regions of the frontal lobes, in particular dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), inferior prefrontal cortex (IFC), anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) and the supplementary motor area (SMA), alongside non-frontal brain regions such as the inferior parietal lobes, the cerebellum and the basal ganglia have been found to be involved in tasks of motor timing and time estimation… the same brain regions are involved in both motor timing and time estimation, suggesting that both functions are probably inseparable and mediated by common neural networks.” (Rubia & Smith, 2004)
Here are some links to additional research studies for your consideration:
Responsible trials of IM training with careful measurement and observation pre and post training may help us better understand whether IM training has any effect on this condition and for how long. The following story was submitted by Nancy Thomas, an IM Provider in West Virginia:
When Kathy visits the Brain Fitness Center today she is alert and cognizant. Nancy describes her as “delightful and delighted.” Her shoulders are squared, she makes eye contact, her memory is improved enough to navigate the grocery store, and her sense of humor has returned. She is back to work as an upholsterer and has “a whole lot more years of real life” Kathy’s husband, Larry, puts it simply “I got my wife back.”
Read Kathy’s full story here.
For even more information on treating Alzheimer’s, check out how our Providers are using IM training with their clients. In 2012, Dr. Randee VanNess (an IM Provider in Colorado) gave an interesting presentation on her clinic’s regular use of IM training for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Her presentation was recorded and can be viewed via this link:
Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP
Interactive Metronome, Inc
Clinical Education Director
Clinical Advisory Board Director
Clinical Education Administrator