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New Research Shows ADHD Symptoms Reduced by Brain Balance® Program Exercises including Interactive Metronome® Training

New research from Harvard University / McLean Hospital and published by the scientific journal, Psychiatric Research, revealed that participants in the Brain Balance Program® saw a reduction in ADHD symptoms in participants. Reliable change was seen in parent-rated scores from pre-to post-participation in children ages 8-14. 

Goal of the study:

The aim of the study was to assess whether the integrated approach (Brain Balance home program exercises including rhythm and timing exercises utilizing the Interactive Metronome) had beneficial effects on parent and clinician ratings of children with ADHD by looking at parent and clinician ratings as well as additional laboratory and neuropsychological assessments. Additionally, the study sought to identify domains of benefit and measures of effect size (examples include impulsiveness, inattention, tantrums, social interactions and schoolwork).  This information will be used for the design of additional follow-up studies.  

The goal of the study titled “Open assessment of the therapeutic and rate-dependent effects of Brain Balance and Interactive Metronome exercises on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” was to identify which aspects of ADHD were impacted and to what degree after completing the 15-week Brain Balance home program. The study involved children ages 8 to 14 who met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD for the active group and typically developing children for the control group. 

Key Findings:

Ratings from Brain Balance participating parents showed a marked reduction in ADHD symptoms with substantial improvement in all domains, most notably inattention.  Clinician ratings also demonstrated changes in total ADHD scores as well as in the subscales of Inattention and Hyperactivity.

Summary:

  • A marked reduction in total ADHD scores on both parent and clinician-rated scales (Conners’ Parent Rating Scale and the ADHD Rating Scale -IV).
  • Substantial improvements in the Inattentive and Hyperactive ratings which include questions pertaining to many aspects of daily life including impulsiveness, inattention, tantrums, social interactions and schoolwork.
  • Additional lab testing demonstrated an improvement in the children’s ability to sit still, improve accuracy and make fewer errors on additional tests of attention (Quotient ADHD system test).
  • Improvement in parent ratings of oppositional behaviors, although smaller than the reduction in hyperactivity and inattention.

“It is noteworthy that training with Brain Balance/Interactive Metronome appeared to have clinical and neuropsychological effects similar to low doses of methylphenidate though it appeared to be less effective than moderate or high doses.” Dr. Rebecca Jackson, Brain Balance Vice President of Programs & Outcomes and Board Certified Cognitive Specialist.

Path to Future Research:

The results of this exploratory study provided enough meaningful insight and evidence to warrant further research on a larger scale.

This is meaningful because ADHD has been diagnosed in approximately 9.4% of children in the United States and has been shown to negatively impact a child’s experience in the classroom, interacting with peers, family and self-confidence. More research has been needed to help parents identify effective options as an adjunct or alternative to medication, and the need for additional research on approaches to addressing ADHD has escalated over the past few years. The combination of increases in ADHD diagnosis and prescribed medication, paired with supply shortages of ADHD medication has left many parents searching to find answers and support. 

 

Study Specifics1:

Participants:

Participants = children ages 8-14 years of age that meet the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD and typically developing controls 
n= 16 ADHD participants – 14 male, 2 female (9 unmedicated)
n = 8 controls – 4 male, 4 female

Treatment:

15-weeks of 5 times per week of BB program exercises (up to 75 sessions)
The exercises were standardized, so all participants completed the same exercises, without the benefit of personalized tailoring of the program nor supervised training by an experienced coach.

Findings:

  • Parent ratings – Conners’ Parent Rating Scale Pre/post-program parent ratings
    • Indicated a significant reduction in ADHD index scores with a large effect size.
    • The Inattention subscale demonstrated a large effect size in score reduction.
    • The Hyperactivity subscale demonstrated a large effect size in score reduction.
    • Degree of improvement did not vary based on baseline severity nor differences in children that were medicated versus unmedicated.
  • Clinician Ratings – ADHD Rating Scale-IV pre/post-program clinician ratings
    • Indicated a reduction in total ADHD scores with a medium to large effect size.
    • The Inattention subscale demonstrated a large effect size in score reduction.
    • The Hyperactivity subscale demonstrated a medium effect size.
  • Laboratory Measures:
    • Quotient ADHD System (measures of hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity)
      • Pre/post program measures showed an association with an alteration in the ability to sit still that was similar to the effects of a low dose methylphenidate, but that the participants responded in a more consistent and predictable manner to the Brain Balance program, which was similar to the intermediate dose.
    • Tests of Go/No-Go (inhibitory measures) and Star CPT (sustained attention)
      • The Brain Balance program appeared to produce effects for CPT (continuous performance task) and accuracy that were quite similar to low doses of methylphenidate.

1 Resource: January 2023. “Open assessment of the therapeutic and rate-dependent effects of brain balance center® and interactive metronome® exercises on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” Psychiatric Research, Volume 319.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165178122005649

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