This is a summary of a webinar that aired in March of 2019 and talks about the newest research results that the research arm of LearningRx piloted. LearningRx is the parent company of Metro Learning Solutions, located in West Des Moines, Iowa. If you would like to view the webinar in its entirety, here is the link.
Introduction: All of the information presented here is based on 2018 research. All of the research, since inception back in the 70s, has focused on homework struggles and how brain training helps across the board, how brain training has impacted concussion and brain injury, reading ability and learning struggles. Additionally, the research has been targeted to ADHD clients, dyslexic individuals, those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, etc. One of our newest research studies focused on whether or not brain training affects real life; this article will cover what was found.
We have research on age bands from 5 – 95, we have research on over 100,000 individuals, we have training facilities nationwide and in 47 countries.
Our research arm, Gibson Institute, headed by Dr. Amy Moore, was started in 2014 and has since completed over 20 studies in the area of brain training and its impact on the brain. Many of the studies can be found at either www.gibsonresearch.org or www.clinicaltrials.gov. One of the most impactful results or these studies is that the research found that we now get a 21-point average gain in IQ. Our previous statistic was an average 15-point gain!
1st Breakthrough: Brain Training Changes the Brain!
What our research now shows is that we are physically changing the brain. Dr. Hill and Dr. Christina Ledbetter, two renowned scientists in the field of brain research, conducted a joint, independent review of one of our studies. As a result of this research review, Dr. Hill has spoken on our behalf in several instances and has written forwards for many of our articles. Dr. Ledbetter is now so excited about what the research showed that she has joined our research team in addition to conducting some independent research of her own.
The findings showed that brain training physically changes the brain and increases its efficiency and connectivity. Dr. Ledbetter was able to show a correlation between training and brain changes; she found that the greater the change in the pre and post test results the greater the physical changes in the brain.
One case study of note focused on a 58-year-old man who sustained a brain injury when he was 50. Because of his brain injury, he had to leave his career and became a janitor at a local library. After training, he was able to get his previous job back. In addition to the MRIs showing the physical changes in his brain that occurred as a result of brain training, he reported improvements in mood, depression and memory.
2nd Breakthrough: Attention is not the weakest skill in Clients Diagnosed with ADHD
A study was conducted on over 5,400 individuals diagnosed with ADHD. This is the largest data base for ADHD studies. What the research showed was that the weakest areas for these individuals were working memory, processing speed and long-term memory. So while other programs are solely focused on stretching memory and giving coping skills to those diagnosed with ADHD, our program couples those strategies with actually developing the skills that are symptomatic of the condition.
We are now able to answer the question, WHY does an individual have an attention or focus problem? If we know the WHY, a program can be individually developed to address that.
3rd Breakthrough: Clients with Dyslexia require more than Phonemic Awareness Training and a Good Reading Program
There are lots of good reading programs available and most conscientious schools have researched them and are providing research-based programs to struggling readers. What typically happens as a result of those programs is that struggling readers make slow progress (that can be measured) but are still behind their peers and continue to need reading support year after year.
Most professionals think that a phonemic awareness weakness is the cause of reading issues. This makes sense, since our language is sound based. But what our research shows is that, while phonemic awareness training is important, a simultaneous approach to developing working memory, long term memory and processing speed is equally, if not more, important.
Reading is very complex: A reader needs to see the letters, identify them, associate them with a sound and blend them together very quickly to make a word and then associate that word with a concept. If there is a breakdown, you need other strategies. Phonemic awareness training focuses on only one of the areas, but the act of reading is much more complex.
Reading difficulties are not knowledge issues; rather, it is a skills issue and those skills can be tested, measured and strengthened at any age. There is a school of thought that skills are set by age 12, which is why schools typically focus more of their resources on early intervention. After age 12, the thinking is, everything has been done for a child and accommodations are recommended (extra time to test or complete homework, reduced assignments, a quieter working environment, etc.) Our research shows that this is not the case. Reading and associated issues can be improved at any age. As a matter of fact, our average client age used to be 12, now it is 12.3, so we are getting resulting changes on older individuals.
4th Breakthrough: Brain Training Improved Everyday Life for our Clients.
This data is qualitative rather than quantitative, as is all our other research. We focused this research on clients over the age of 50. They were divided into two different groups. One of the groups got all their training provided by a professional cognitive development specialist, another group got partial training from a specialist and 50% of the training provided by a home partner. Each client received between 4.5 – 6 hours of weekly training. The results showed that each group got about the same amount of growth. We were able to show the difference in cognition gained in each of these clients.
The quantitative data was self-reported and on the exit surveys, the clients reported an increase in memory, focus and attention, work performance, a renewed interest in hobbies, sports, driving, they felt they were better at problem solving and multi-tasking. They felt less anxious, had more confidence and hope and had a better overall outlook.
This peer reviewed study was just published in the Journal of Psychology and Neuroscience.
5th Breakthrough: Brain Training Brought Back the Blue!
This was an unplanned discovery for the researchers, but one they were hoping for. In MRIs, a picture of a brain shows areas that are “firing” when different parts of the brain are used. They are very colorful and have areas of yellow, orange, and blue. The blue areas represent healthy cognition and the blue disappears in individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, even in the individual diagnosed with Stage 2 Alzheimer’s.
In two case studies, after only 72 hours of brain training, the pre and post MRIs showed that the blue areas came back. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly what happens, but these results are very promising, even though the sample group is very small.
If you would like more information on these studies, please call Metro Learning Solutions at 515-523-0980. 000000