Interactive Metronome® (IM) is a patented and unique training tool that challenges thinking and movement simultaneously, helping to synchronize the body’s internal clock. Your body and brain’s ability to keep time is fundamental to everything you do, including the way you think, talk, and walk. Timing is critical for the brain’s billions of neural networks to communicate effectively and efficiently. It’s one of the keys to peak performance.
When your inner time clock is working correctly, you’re able to stay focused at school or work, remember the names of the people you just met, run without tripping, and read a book easily. When your internal clock is out of sync, it can lead to problems in many areas.
INTERACTIVE METRONOME® AND THE BRAIN
IM is a way to train your brain to get your inner clock back in sync. Research suggests that IM enhances the brain’s white matter, the myelin sheath that acts as protective insulation for your neurons. The white matter also facilitates and speeds connectivity and communication between the brain’s functional networks. Healthier white matter translates to better brain communication. Experts suggest that IM training specifically improves the white matter in areas of the brain associated with executive functions, intellectual function, attention, judgment, and working memory.
At Amen Clinics, people whose brain SPECT scans show low activity in the cerebellum tend to do well with IM training, as well as with coordination exercises, dancing, and table tennis. These activities boost activity in the cerebellum, which communicates with the frontal lobes (involved in executive function).
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM INTERACTIVE METRONOME®?
IM can help children (even babies), adults, and seniors for a wide array of problems—from having trouble in school to memory problems to anxiety related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This type of brain training can also help anyone who wants to improve their cognitive or physical performance at school, at work, or on the field.
IM training can benefit those with cognitive or neurological challenges. At Amen Clinics, we have used IM to manage the following conditions:
• Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
• Concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
• Alzheimer’s disease
It has also been used in other settings, such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers, for people with Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cerebral palsy, visual and auditory processing disorders, dyslexia, sensory processing disorders, multiple sclerosis, developmental disorders, spinal cord injuries, and more.
AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
IM has been found to be beneficial in many areas, including:
• Academic Performance
• Focus and Concentration
• Impulse Control
• Executive Function
• Working Memory
• Anger Management
• Mental Stamina
• Auditory/Visual Processing Speed
• Sensory Processing
• Fine and Gross Motor Skills
• Motor Planning and Sequencing
• Balance and Coordination
• Reading Comprehension and Speech Fluency
The IM training goal is to help you get to a point where the positive neurological changes achieved are hardwired for lasting benefits. Some people prefer to continue IM sessions in order to make further gains toward peak performance.
INTERACTIVE METRONOME® AND ADD/ADHD
Focus, attention, and concentration rely on timing. IM training enhances the rhythmic communication within the brain’s functional networks to lay the groundwork for you to be able to stay focused. When your internal clock is in sync, it frees up the brain’s networks so they can perform cognitive functions associated with processing, memory, and coordination—without losing focus. The training is also designed in a way that encourages people to maintain focus over a sustained period, which helps you stay focused longer. Because IM is effective in improving both focus and concentration and impulse control, it is seen as a powerful tool for managing symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
INTERACTIVE METRONOME® AND CONCUSSIONS/TRAUMATIC BRIAN INJURY (TBI)
Each year in the U.S., about 1.7 million people head to the emergency room with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). And many more experience concussions or TBIs that go undiagnosed. Concussions and TBIs can result in a variety of consequences that interfere with healthy brain function and can lead to cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems. Common symptoms of concussions and TBI include confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, anxiety, mood swings, and more. By strengthening the white matter that helps the brain’s functional systems communicate, IM training can help people who have experienced head trauma.
INTERACTIVE METRONOME® AND AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD)
Timing is a foundational requirement for efficient brain processing, attention, and working memory. These all play a role in the way a person behaves and interacts with others, as well as in language development—all areas that may be affected in people with autism. By improving internal timing, it improves neural communications to enhance these areas.
INTERACTIVE METRONOME® AND MEMORY PROBLEMS/DEMENTIA
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia cause dramatic changes in the brain, and they can begin decades before symptoms appear. Brain SPECT scans show that low overall brain activity is commonly seen in people with dementia. Imaging tests have also identified tangles and plaques within the brains of Alzheimer’s patients that are believed to interfere with healthy brain function and neural communication. IM training aims to enhance those networks and may help slow the progression of the disease and help people regain some functions that were lost.
INTERACTIVE METRONOME® AND AGING
The brain’s white matter is believed to shrink with age, which contributes to slower cognitive processing speeds. Staying safe behind the wheel, reducing fall risk, and improving mental function, are all of great importance as we age. For these reasons, IM is a particularly beneficial form of brain training for older adults who want to enjoy their golden years.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING IM TRAINING
During the one-hour session, the IM provider will take you through a series of exercises customized specifically for your abilities. Through headphones, you will hear a slow and steady metronome beat. You will be asked to match the beat (54 times per minute). Through the hand and foot sensors your movements will be measured to 1,000th of a second. With each beat you will instantaneously receive visual and auditory feedback prompting you to slow or quicken your responses. Over time, the length of the exercises (within the hour) are gradually increased as is the exercise difficulty level. Auditory and visual distractions are added as appropriate.
Every exercise is scored in the computer. A pre-, interim-, and post-assessment is conducted to aid in tracking your progress. Being able to see your progress can be very encouraging.