Skyline College Brain Training and Peak Performance Project

Using the latest advancement in neuroscience of neuroplasticity and Interactive Metronome neurotechnology, researchers Tony Jackson, Ph.D. and Raymond Jones, Ph.D. have piloted a small research evidence-based brain training program at Skyline College in the spring semester of 2013.  Contemporary evidence-based neuroscience research indicates that the rhythm-timing based IM neurotechnology can rewire the brain so that it can function faster and more efficiently by (1) repairing or developing efficient neural pathways; and (2) increasing cortical reorganization through sensory stimulation. The rewired brain improves the brain’s processing speed in milliseconds (1/1000) for fast synchronization between the brain’s major networks.  If this millisecond timing is compromised, efficient and normal cognition and motor behavior can be negatively impacted.   The IM process has proven to be extremely useful in improving attentional control of focus, concentration and brain speed in brain-related cognitive dysfunctions such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder; behavioral challenges of post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injury; and with improving athletic performance.

The Brain Training and Peak Performance Project Student Learning Outcomes were as followes:

  • To improve task millisecond (ms) average (TMA) increase brain speed as measured by IM normative data for subject’s age
  • To improve variability ms average (VMA) to enhance rhythm and timing as measured by IM normative data for subject’s age
  • To improve super-right-on (SRO) percentage to strengthen concentration and focus as measured by IM normative data for subject’s age
  • To improve the in-a-row (IAR) hits to gain impulse control as measured by IM normative data for subject’s age

Through the initial support of President Innovation the Interactive Metronome (IM) was purchased, subsequent funding sources were requested to conduct the actual research but were unavailable.  Undaunted, the researchers proceeded, volunteering their time and revenue to finance the two Skyline College student research assistants that volunteered their time to work with the subjects.  The lack of funding resulted in a narrower research focus on Skyline College students with cognitive dysfunctions and behavioral challenges.

The subjects self-referred themselves to participate in the research project.  S.1 was a 47 year old male who suffered from a left hemispheric stroke that had caused cognitive deficits including poor memory recall, difficulty remember names, and slow processing, i.e., difficulty with math.  S.2 was a 36 year old male, who was an Iraqi Conflict veteran presented with complaints of having difficulty of paying attention and “staying on track” with his thoughts.  The subjects were assigned to a trained research assistant that implemented the brain training work plan for each session.  Subjects worked out twice a week, 45 minutes per session for a total of 18 sessions.  The work plan detailed the type of exercise, along with number of repetitions, level of difficulty, and the number of beats-per-minute for each exercise.

Brain Training Project Photo

A multi-method approach of quantitative and qualitative evaluation was used to collect data.  Quantitative data was collected and interpreted for each specific exercise during each session; it provided the benchmark for measuring progress.  The quantitative data collected included the following:  task ms average which indicates how close the responses were to the reference tone (lower the number the better); variability ms average measures how close the responses were to each other instead of the reference tone; super-right-on percentage tell what percentage of the responses were in the 15 MS range of the reference tone; early/late percentage which measures the how many responses were early or late; in-a-row is the highest number of responses in row that were within 15 ms of the reference tone.  The qualitative data collection consisted of self-reflection pre/post survey intended to identify how daily life function may be improved by IM, subjects self-evaluated themselves in the areas of:  memory recall, organizational skills, concentration/focus, multi-tasking, coping skills and rhythm/timing.

 Pictured from L-R: Dr. Ray Jones, Research Assistants: Tatyana Alfaro, Brian Doan and Dr. Tony JacksonPictured from L-R: Dr. Ray Jones, Research Assistants: Tatyana Alfaro, Brian Doan and Dr. Tony Jackson

Article by: Dr. Tony Jackson. Photos by: Raul Guerra.