Alzheimer's, ADHD, schizophrenia, autism, the manic phase of bipolar and Parkinson's – all disorders that have been linked to neural timing. More recently, disorders such as aphasia and dyslexia have been identified as potential disorders of timing. The experimental techniques used to identify and investigate these timing systems within the brain combine the use of electrophysiology, psychophysics, EEG, fMRI, and computational modeling.
Why the interest in timing systems within the brain? Timing is critical to almost every behavior or activity we engage in, from high level cognitive tasks (problem solving), to riding a bicycle or driving a car, to playing a musical instrument. In addition, neurodevelopmental research has identified the importance of brain timing as a primary contributor to learning and adaptation.
When considering timing within the brain, it is important to examine the relationship between timing viewed as “dedicated” (relying on centralized mechanisms) or “intrinsic” (relying on properties of neural circuits). Different cognitive, motor and sensory tasks require different levels of accuracy, precision, flexibility (the time it takes to reset between tasks) and task complexity (simple or complex patterns). Given the timing requirements necessary to achieve a high level of task diversity, it indicates there may be multiple timing systems operating in parallel. This understanding of timing systems within the brain has lead to an area within brain research that is dedicated to exploring how to improve the efficiency of an individual's brain timing systems and temporal processing – specifically the parietal-frontal brain network. The parietal-frontal brain network is most closely associated with controlled attention, executive functions, general intellectual functioning, and working memory. For further clarity, working memory is the long-term plasticity that provides a memory of a learning experience; while processing speed is considered to be short-term plasticity that provides a memory of what happened a few hundred milliseconds ago – filtering information to be stored in working memory.
Individuals with poor brain timing or poor synchronization are turning to the use of Interactive Metronome in an effort to improve neural efficiency and the brain's timing systems. Interactive Metronome is a rehabilitative and brain training neurotechnology. Compelling evidence has shown the effectiveness of Interactive Metronome therapy on cognitive measures and electrocortical functioning among soldiers recovering from blast related traumatic brain injury. Interactive Metronome research has also reported positive results for ADHD behavior, speech and language disorders, autism and autism spectrum disorders, sports performance, reading achievement and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.
To give you an idea of the results, studies have shown that after only 15 to 18 one-hour sessions, participants are typically able to respond within approximately 15 milliseconds as compared to an average of 80 – 100 milliseconds prior to Interactive Metronome therapy. You may be wondering....do milliseconds really matter? In fact they do! After a neuron has fired, it can recharge itself and fire again. Faster recharge rates allow for more frequent firing of nerve synapses during cognitive or motor tasks. This is referred to as neural efficiency. This leads to faster information processing and to improved coordination of cognitive tasks.
Neural efficiency contributes to cognitive performance. Neuroscientists have identified a number of brain networks or circuits; five of which have been identified as core functional networks – explicit memory, face-object recognition, language, spatial attention and working memory / executive function. These brain networks affect the capacity to learn, concentrate, think, interact with others, and master academic skills. Deficits in neural efficiency can be found in attentional, learning and developmental disorders. These deficits are part of several disorders, including ADHD, pervasive developmental disorder (autism spectrum disorder), language disorders, motor disorders, and specific learning disorders involving reading, reading comprehension, math, and writing.
How does Interactive Metronome therapy work? Interactive Metronome neurotechnology is designed to increase the efficacy of the parietal-frontal brain network. This is the brain network most closely associated with controlled attention, executive function, intellectual function, and working memory. However, given the effectiveness of Interactive Metronome therapy, it is believed to also increases overall efficiency in brain network communication. This is supported by positive results in improving motor coordination, speech and language functioning, stroke recovery, traumatic brain rehabilitation, etc.
From a clinical perspective, Interactive Metronome therapy has proven to be an effective tool in improving timing and rhythmicity across a wide age span. As with any therapy program, the effectiveness of the Interactive Metronome treatment program requires proper diagnosis by a residency trained neuro-optometrist combined with a skilled therapist with the experience necessary to provide a positive outcome with the desired results.
At Advanced Vision Therapy Center in Boise, Idaho we offer effective, customized Interactive Metronome therapy treatment programs for neuro-rehabilitation and to help patients improve neural efficiency, working memory processing speed. Our treatment program is under the direction of Dr. Ryan C. Johnson, a residency trained neuro-optometrist. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call. 208.377.1310. We're here to help!