Interactive Metronome & IM-Home Blog
Get the latest news on Interactive metronome training, it's application and breakthroughs as well as insights in the science behind it and the latest tips and success stories from clients and therapist using IM and IM-Home.
A Brain-based Approach for ADHD and LD
Donna Abler, a holistic occupational therapist, is accepting summer registrations to help children overcome motor, behavioral and cognitive challenges associated with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities (LD) through a natural, drug-free approach. Developed in the early 1990s, Interactive Metronome (IM) is a computerized, brain-based therapy tool that has gained national attention as a breakthrough intervention to support processing abilities in the brain, including language, motor and cognition skills. Its effectiveness is backed by clinical research...Continue reading
“Time is essential to speech.” This study by de Cheveigne (2003) makes clear that in order to understand speech, the brain depends upon its internal clock (or what is known as temporal processing) to decipher at a minimum: 1) whether the left or right ear heard it first or which direction the voice came from, 2) pitch and intonation or WHO is speaking, 3) each individual sound within each word, 4) how the sounds blend together to make each word, including whether each sound is a vowel, consonant, voiced, voiceless, and 5) whether there are pauses between sounds and words that add emphasis or meaning. When timing in the brain or temporal processing is off by just milliseconds, a person may have difficulty processing and understanding speech. Interactive Metronome is a patented program that addresses the underlying problem in Auditory Processing Disorders, tuning the internal clock to the millisecond in order to more accurately perceive speech.
de Cheveigne, A. (2003). Time-domain auditory processing of speech. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 547-561.Continue reading
The "Time Doc" (K. McGrew) Voice of America interview on focus and "quieting the busy mind"
Why is a scholar in intelligence theory and testing spending time working with and researching the brain-clock based neurotechnology of Interactive Metronome?
I have now explained this connection on my recent Internet radio show interview. In it you will learn why IM technology appears to increase focus (controlled attention; working memory) in a manner similar to mindfulness meditation and other brain fitness programs. You will learn that these technologies help to "quiet the busy" mind that is due to the default brain network, via the strengthening of the salience and central executive networks. The connection with general intelligence (g) is also discussed via Jensen's neural efficiency hypothesis and the temporal g notion of neural efficiency. If you want to read more, check out the Time Doc's posts at the IM-Home blog (check for posts under my name or under the category of "science"... and be sure to click on "see other stories" if it does not give you all the posts) These include the Time Doc's own personal experience with the IM-Home brain clock based technology... Read more...
I have many parents ask me right away – “How long until we see some improvement?” or “What should I look for?” In my experience, this is very unpredictable. Some of the patients who I see who I think will do really well, take much longer to show improvements and others who have more difficulty make progress more quickly. But it also sometimes happens in the opposite way.
Sometimes the children who have the most difficulty have the furthest to go – so improvement may seem to come more quickly. Sometimes its easier to see even the littlest thing – like they were able to feed themselves an entire meal instead of throwing their food or spoon – are much more obvious. In other situations, especially with my patients who have more of the ADHD/ADD type symptoms we need to look more closely at what they are doing and how they are doing it. I especially see progress first in these patients during homework time. That is when I hear that they are sticking with their homework longer or getting it done faster or even just that they can sit at their desk for 20 minutes at a time when before it was more like 5 minutes before they were up and running around or asking questions.Continue reading
Brain training helps Topeka child with ADHD
When Aaron Davis hears a beat his brain fires a reaction to his hands or his feet. When his parents, Richard and Brenda, see the mental to physical connection, they remember at one time the simple task was impossible. Richard says, "We get emotional. It's incredible, the difference."
A year ago, Aaron struggled in school, lacked social interaction, and seemed to be in a world of his own. Brenda says, "We were told he had a wheat allergy and he had a gluten allergy and to take all of that out of his diet. So we did that for a month and there was no improvement. Then we were told the natural food market has these wonderful vitamins and that will help. We tried that and nothing worked."
Doctors then told Richard and Brenda their son had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. The solution: medication. But Richard says, "He was still struggling in school, he was still behind."
Nothing made Aaron better. Just when the family had given up all hope, a friend suggested Interactive Metronome. A program that retrains the brain. Doctors say IM uses a repetitive exercise that changes or remaps neurons in a certain part of the brain resulting in a change in behavior. Brenda says, "The first time he went to IM, that night, we already saw a difference."Continue reading
Alertness versus focus: Same or different?
Often upon completing a brief description of the benefits of IM to an individual, which centers on the benefits of increased controlled attention or “on demand focus”, people often ask me why not just drink one of those highly advertised energy drinks. These drinks claim to increase alertness, attention, energy and focus. Drinking an energy drink is much easier when compared to committing to IM training for three weekly hour sessions over a period of 4-5 weeks
In general, the primary claim of these energy drinks is increased alertness. Thus, it is important to understand that alertness is not the same as controlled attention or focus. Given all the claims circulating in the “cognitive enhancement” market place (energy drinks, brain fitness technologies), it is important that the discourse be scientifically-based and grounded in a professional consensus of terms. So let me attempt to add some order to the increasing confusion of terms.
I first turn to the highly respected Annual Review of Psychologyfor an article published by Posner and Rosthbart (2007).Their comprehensive research review makes a distinction between three different attention networks—alerting, orienting, and executive attention. These three different attention networks are orchestrated by different areas of the brain (see figure below). They also differ in the primary neurotransmitters utilized by each system---alerting (acetylcholine), orienting (norepinephrine), and executive (dopamine). Although related and often working collaboratively, they are different forms of attention.Continue reading
Falling Apart at the Seams
A few weeks ago, I met an 8-year-old called Samantha who absolutely could not sit still unless it was in front of the computer and she was playing her chosen games. When she came to the Occupational Therapy Evaluation, she refused to do most tasks on the standardized testing, and could not sit for more than a minute before she was up and running around the room. Even with parental guidance, she continued to refuse to participate and was just falling apart at the seams. Her mother reported that this was what a typical school day was like for this child.
A few years ago, she had received a diagnosis of a Sensory Integration disorder, and had attended therapy. Then, when she started school, she was discharged with a good sensory diet, but family let it go by the wayside over time. As symptoms began to emerge again over time, they didn’t think about restarting sensory diet activities, and behavior got out of control in all of her environments. Because the family wanted to try to keep her calm, she got anything she asked for, was able to decide her own bed time, what she ate at every meal and what she got to do during her playtime – which was almost always sitting in front of the computer. Her sensory system was starving and she was so dysregulated it was hard to know where to start during treatment sessions...
In order for a child to have good self-control (i.e., behavior), the timing system in the brain must be operating normally. Faulty timing is at the heart of ADHD. Researchers in Australia recently developed a set of questions for parents of children with ADHD that will help doctors and therapists better pinpoint whether there is a problem with timing skills and whether or not they are getting better with treatment. This is a valuable tool for professionals who use Interactive Metronome in the treatment of ADHD to measure and document the effect of the treatment, which improves timing in the brain.
Houghton, S., Durkin, K., Ang, R.P., Taylor, M.F., and Brandtman, M. (2011). Measuring Temporal Self-Regulation in Children With and Without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Sense of Time in Everyday Contexts. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 27(2), 88-94.
“It feels good to get going again!”
By the time Margaret contacted me to enquire into IM services, she had progressed to the point of requiring a seated rollator walker for mobility and numerous adjustments to her work and home functional routines. Her decline had been insidious, over the course of several years, and then at the age of 48, she was stricken with lower limb partial paralysis following a 12 hours nursing shift. Following a 10-day work up in hospital, she was approached by her medical advisors with her official diagnosis: Multiple Sclerosis. As she progressed to the point of discharge home, she knew from her nursing background that therapies could help her to adapt to the influence of MS in her life...but she wondered if there was anything available that could actually IMPROVE her skills.
IM Helps Family with ADHD Therapy
Renee Williams and her 5-year-old son Cameron submitted the winning name for our mascot: IM Buddy!
Cameron and his mother Renee have never gone through the Interactive Metronome program and they are really exited to start their IM-Home sessions with one of our IM-Home providers. Renee, stumbled upon our IM-Home website and after reading and seeing that IM-Home would be very beneficial to her son, she took a chance to register for our contest at our Facebook page “Hope for ADHD.”...
Featured in the News: After serious head injury, Dover principal spreads awareness about concussions
Principal Julie Sterner's injury impaired her ability to read and multitask after falling in a bounce house. She said therapy helped her become herself again.
York, PA - Last summer, Julie Sterner broke down in the ice-cream aisle at a grocery store. She couldn't remember what she wanted to buy. The bright lights, people and choices were too much for her mind to handle. She felt overwhelmed and panicked.
"I didn't know how to get out," Sterner said.
In April, the 33-year-old fell in an inflatable bounce house during a Dover Area Senior High School event.
Sterner -- principal at Dover Intermediate School -- hooked up to an elastic cord to race a student. She lay on the inflated floor after she slipped and the band snapped her body backward to the ground. She felt groggy as pain circled her head. She thought she was OK, so she went home and slept. She awoke the next day with a headache and felt fatigued.Continue reading
You are a time machine
Time and space are the two fundamental dimensions of our lives. All forms of human behavior require us to process and understand information we receive from our environment in either spatial or temporal patterns. Even though mental timing (temporal processing) research is in a stage of infancy (when compared to spatial processing) important insights regarding the human brain clock have emerged.
Below is a list (albeit incomplete) of some of the major conclusions regarding the human brain clock. The sources for these statements come from my review of the temporal processing and brain clock literature during the past five years. Most of this information has been disseminated at the Brain Clock blog or the Brain Clock Evolving Web of Knowledge (EWOK). The goal of this post is to provide a Readers Digest summary of the major conclusions. This material can serve as a set of "talking points" at your next social event where you can impress your friends and family as you explain why you use the high-tech IM "clapper" (with a cowbell tone no less) either as a provider or as client.
Our brains measure time constantly. It's hard to find any complex human behavior where mental timing is not involved. Timing is required to walk, talk, perform complex movements and coordinate information flow across the brain for complex human thought. Think about moving your arm and hand to grasp a coffee cup. The messages to perform this task originate in your brain, which is not directly connected to your arm, hands and fingers. The ability to perform the necessary motor movements is possible only because the mind and extremities are connected via timing. Precisely timed neural messages connect your brain and extremities. You are a time machine.
Timing in the brain is critical for good focus and self-control. Studies like this one by Ben-Pazi et al (2005) show that the brain’s timing mechanism is not working properly in children with ADHD, and that it is even worse in younger children with ADHD and those who lack self-control and are impulsive. Interactive Metronome is the only tool available today to effectively improve timing in the brain. By directly addressing timing skills at the level necessary for the brain to function more efficiently, the Interactive Metronome produces results.
Ben-Pazi, H., Shalev, R.S., Gross-Tsur, V. and Bergman, H. (2006). Age and medication effects on rhythmic responses in ADHD: Possible oscillatory mechanisms? Neuropsychologia, 44, 412-416.Continue reading
It’s all in the Timing…..
It’s amazing in our culture how many references there are to time or timing… “His timing was just off today”...””Time is money...”Timing is everything”…the list goes on and on. It’s “time” for us to start looking at that on a more personal level. Since time is mentioned so much, it must be important, right?
These phrases all refer to timing as something important for success. When we talk about a quarterback or a pitcher on a team, we know their timing needs to be spot on for accuracy and success. This is what we need for our children with special needs too. Even when we look as simply as our sleep/wake cycles – circadian rhythms– the importance of a sleep wake cycle can make or break someone’s day. Have you ever met a person who was excited that they couldn’t fall to sleep at night? Or how about breathing? When we are comfortable, we are breathing very rhythmically. If we aren’t, we tend to pass out! Even our heart beats out a rhythm on a regular basis.
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
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.Continue reading
“IM not only gave me back my life - it became a part of my life”
Joanne had no idea what was in store for her when her daughter enrolled her grandchildren into one of my IM programs. As the weeks went by and the children started to show dramatic signs of improvement, her daughter’s plan to help her began to unfold. It started with an innocent e-mail “I see how much IM is helping my children, do you think it could help my mother?” - and so the plot began to thicken...
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 after intervention using a metronome. High school athletes, also after receiving metronome training, reported benefits such as, “I am in the right place at the right time,” and “I feel my body is more in sync with my mind.” The team participating in this training reported a significantly more successful year with improved team focus, synchronization and overall team execution. A child’s timing, the ability to feel and express steady beat, is fundamental to movement and music, and has been shown to positively correlate with an increase in mathematics and reading abilities, as well as overall school achievement.
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 with the exciting research being completed by the Human Connectome Project. The project receives mention, but Seung then tends to dismiss the approach in favor of his ideas on how to understand the human mind at different level of the connectome. In contrast, I am increasingly excited with the research on brain networks...and ultimately the brain connectome.
Finally, you can listen and watch Seung speaking about connectomes during his TED talk.