Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gabby Giffords response to music therapy: Fine-tunning the brain clock via rhythm

Very interesting story and video regarding speech and language therapy progress for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

The use of music therapy is consistent with rhythm-based intervention programs.  One of this class of interventions mentioned in the article is melodic intonation therapy (MIT).  MIT is one of a class of rhythm-based therapies that have demostrated significant progress not only for brain-injury related aphasia, but other clinical disorders.  The Brain Clock blog has made many posts regarding the importance of brain rhythm or timing, with the master internal brain clock possibly being the underlying cognitive/brain mechanism that may be being "fine tuned" by these therapies.

A recent white paper that reviewed the efficacy of 23 different rhythm-based therapies can be found here. I recently blogged about one of these neurotechnologies, namely Interactive Metronome, at the IM-Home web page blog.  My post can be found here.  In a post to be released any day, I touch on the above white paper that concluded:

"After a review of four different types of rhythm-based timing treatments, of which IM was just one, we concluded that:

we believe that collectively the preponderance of positive outcomes (across the 23 listed studies) indicates that rhythm-based mental-timing treatments have merit for clinical use and warrant increased clinical use and research attention…positive treatment outcomes were reported for all four forms of rhythm-based treatment.  Positive outcomes were also observed for normal subjects and, more importantly, across a variety of clinical disorders (e.g., aphasia, apraxia, coordination/movement disorders, TBI, CP, Parkinson's disease, stroke/CVA, Down's syndrome, ADHD)….One notable observation of interest is that 15 of the 23 studies (the RAS, AOS-RRT and SMT treatment studies) all employed some form of auditory-based metronome to pace or cue the subjects targeted rhtymic behavior.  In all other studies, rhythm-pacing used some form of manual tapping or beat sound (e.g., drum).  We conclude that the use of external metronome-based rhythm tools (tapping to a beat, metronome-based rhythmic pacing, rhythmic-cuing via timed pulses/beats) is a central tool to improving temporal processing and mental-timing.” 

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