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Brain Fitness

Published: October 18, 2012

Brain

Our brains routinely sort and store information along billions of nerve cells connected in trillions of ways. As we learn more about how the brain works, research shows a digital gaming system called the Interactive Metronome or IM may circumvent timing glitches that can occur in the brain’s basic wiring. The treatment (often guided by an occupational therapist) combines movement and sound to boost cognitive, language, and motor skills in people with ADHD, autism, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

How IM Works
Interactive Metronome therapy challenges users to precisely match a computer generated rhythm by clapping and tapping. The series of progressively challenging movements are designed to improve timing, focus, and concentration. Training typically consists of 15 one-hour sessions over a three to five week period.

The Theory
Auditory training is based on the theory that timing in the brain is disrupted by conditions such as ADHD, autism, stroke and Parkinson’s, and that improving neural timing helps kids and adults improve behavioral, social, cognitive, and motor skills.

The Evidence 
American Journal of Occupational Therapy:

IM training for ADHD improved attention, concentration, motor coordination, language processing, and reading and math skills in pre-teen boys with the condition.

IM training for chronic stroke resulted in significant functional gains for two patients with arm weakness—even though their strokes occurred years earlier.

For more about the science, patient stories, and to find a provider, go to the Interactive Metronome website.

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