IM is Featured on the Radio: Voice America “Focus Point Review”

IM Provider April Christopherson OTR/L guest stars in the “Focus Point” Voice America National Radio program.

She discuses “The Shandy Clinic” in Colorado Springs, CO, Interactive Metronome, other programs that she has worked with, and the use of modalities to treat pediatrics (SPD, ADHD, Autism), TBI, and Stroke Rehab. The show also discusses the importance of rhythm and timing in the brain, and how it affects our everyday lives. You can listen to the interview at this link: VoiceAmerica
 

A Bit of Research on ADHD

Children with ADHD are frequently impulsive. Fortunately, researchers are trying to get to the bottom of this to determine the reason(s) why and what can be done about it. Authors of an editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry (2006) remarked that watching the brain in action under MRI is helping researchers and doctors better understand the underpinnings of ADHD, or in other words, what is going on in the brain? Interestingly, the areas of the brain implicated in ADHD that are frequently targeted for study are ALSO part of the brain’s internal timing network. Timing in the brain is known to be disrupted in individuals with ADHD & has also been implicated in the ability to control one’s impulses and behavior. Interactive Metronome can be an important part of the treatment program for a person with ADHD by improving timing in the brain and addressing some of the areas of brain function mentioned in this article (i.e., working memory, ability to tune out distractions and pay attention to what is most important).

Casey, B.J. and Durston, S. (2006). From Behavior to Cognition to the Brain and Back: What Have We Learned from Functional Imaging Studies of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 6.

Featured in Kids Enabled: And the Beat Goes On – How Timing Affects Learning

And the Beat Goes On – How Timing Affects Learning
By Beth Ardell, MPT

The tick-tock of a metronome has long been used by pianists while practicing their craft. Research now suggests that students with learning differences who “stay on beat” can increase their focus, mental processing and cognitive abilities.
Rhythm and research?As infants, we very quickly develop a sense of rhythm. In the games we play and the songs we sing, rhythm is a way for children to learn about their bodies and their environment. For children with learning differences, activities using rhythm are increasingly being used as a tool to increase mental fluency, thereby improving the effectiveness of many brain and body functions. Growing evidence suggests a link between mental timekeeping and cognition and learning. Children diagnosed with dyslexia may have deficiencies in their timing and rhythm abilities, and some researchers believe the connection between time/rhythm and learning may be so significant that a student’s response time to a metronome beat may predict performance on standardized reading tests. Students have demonstrated significant improvements in broad reading and reading fluency, language processing, and even golf performance after participation in a program to improve timing. In addition, studies have indicated improvements in children with ADHD in the areas of attention, motor control, language processing, reading and ability to regulate aggression...

What the “Time Doc” is reading: Connectome

U snooze and you lose. I had received an advanced copy of Sebastian Seung's Connectome and had hoped to make one of the first book review posts about it. I simply could not find time to read it fast enough and the professionals have already weighed in on the book...so you might as well read their reviews. I have a few minor comments.
I agree with the review in the Wall Street Journal review that this may be one of the best written books on the basics of brain science. Keeping up with contemporary neuroscience and placing it in the context of what I learned during my training and professional experiences has been hard. As I read some of the material that I consider "review" I realized that it was not just a review for me, but it helped my mind see the forrest-from-the-trees re: the neuroscience knowledge I had accumulated---but had not taken time to distill. It is a very good introductory book for the educated lay public on brain science and a nice "organizing review" for professionals.
Another review, which is more an excerpt of of the essence of the book is now also available at the brain fitness heart of the internet--SharpBrains.
My only complaint is that I had hoped it would deal more...

Did you know that listening and reading comprehension are linked?

Did you know that listening and reading comprehension are linked? And that both skills are very much controlled by our brain’s timing system that functions like a clock? According to a study by Breier et al (2003) published in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research (2003), the brain must process quite a bit of time-dependent information in the speech stream in order for a person to understand what is being said (i.e., timing of voice onset, voice offset, pitch, frequency, pauses between sounds, syllables, words, phrases, etc) If the brain’s timing is off even just a little it affects how the brain perceives sounds, and this in turn affects how well a person can follow verbal directions, comprehend what is said, or read. Fortunately, we can help our brain process time more precisely with the right kind of practice and thus improve such time-dependent skills as listening and reading comprehension. Interactive Metronome (IM) is a unique, patented program that has been shown in clinical research to improve mental timing through progressive, engaging cognitive and motor exercises. Continuous, real-time feedback is provided so you will know each step of the way how you are progressing! Studies show that by improving the brain’s timing with IM, auditory processing and reading not only improve, but do so significantly and in a relatively short period of time...

IM is measuring and changing something real and important

IM is measuring and changing something real and important

 

No human investigation can be called real science if it cannot be demonstrated mathematically

Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting (1651)

 

Progress in science depends on new techniques, new discoveries and new ideas, probably in that order

Sydney Brenner (1980)

At the core of the IM intervention technology is a precise measurement system.  To users and clinicians the IM measurement system is transparent.  Yet, without the valid and precise measurement system, IM would not work.

In my “Brain or neural efficiency: Is it quickness or timing?” post, I advanced the hypothesis that the effectiveness of Interactive Metronome may be due to IM operating on a fundamental dimension of brain or neural efficiency, which intelligence scholars also relate to general intelligence (g).  I have also suggested that this mechanism improves control of attention and may allow individuals to “quiet a busy mind”and invoke “on-demand focus.”

As an applied intelligence test developer (click here), I have been intrigued by the underlying precise millisecond-based measurement system which is the heart of IM technology.  IM technology would not work if the underlying measurement system could not reliably measure differences in synchronized metronome tapping between individuals and changes within the same individual over repeated sessions. 

Clapping to a bell? …That sounds ­boring. How is this going to actually help my child?

 

Clapping to a bell? …That sounds ­boring. How is this going to actually help my child?

This is a question that I hear from many parents as I try to explain to them what IM is and how it works to make changes in the brain’s mesh of neurological connections. “I don’t think my child would do that for a whole hour” or “I think you are going to lose them during the session” are common responses, and there is always the “My child already knows how to clap, so how would this ever help them? These are actually all really good statements, and a parent should never hesitate to ask what it is that we are doing and why we think it will help.

Brain or neural efficiency: Is it quickness or timing?

 

Brain or neural efficiency:  Is it quickness or timing?

It is time I return to where I first started the description of my journeyto understand Interactive Metronome (IM) and the human brain clock.  To recap, I firstbecame interested in the human brain clock after consulting on a school-based IM intervention study that produced positive results.  Next, I reviewed research and theory that suggested that for a brain-clock based intervention (IM) to work across multiple human performance domains, the technology must be modifying some form of jack-of-all-trades central brain mechanism.  I subsequently was excited to discover research that suggested that the human brain clock could be fine-tunedvia non-drug interventions.  Finally, it was the research discovery described below that sealed my fate as a scholar interested in the applied potential of brain-clock based neurotechnology interventions. 

On-demand-focus

 

On-demand-focus

Is there similarity between the attentional focus required during IM-Home training and that attained by experienced meditators?  Emerging scientific evidence suggests the answer is "yes."

 

 

The brain as a set of networks: Fine tuning your networks

The brain as a set of networks: Fine tuning your networks

Man has always known that the brain is the center of human behavior.  Early attempts at understanding which locations in the brain controlled different functions were non-scientific and included such practices asphrenology.  This pseudoscience believed that by feeling the bumps of a person’s head it was possible to draw conclusions about specific brain functions and traits of the person.

Eventually brain science revealed that different regions of the brain where specialized for different specific cognitive processes (but it was not related to the phrenological brain bump maps).  This has been called the modular or functional specialization view of the brain, which is grounded in the conclusion that different brain areas acted more-or-less as independent mechanisms for completing specific cognitive functions.

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