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#74063 - 04/15/10 10:07 AM Brain Balance Center?
snowgirl Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 339
I saw this article in today's paper: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14886346

Interesting. One of the children it discusses has ADD and Asperger's and is getting stimulation for the right side of his brain. I always thought (from Silverman) that people with ADD tend to be right brain learners, and that therefore it would be the left side that might have weaknesses. Aside from the fact that obviously my thinking was too simplistic, and that any individual, even one who is primarily a right-brain learner, could still have right brain weaknesses, it surprises me that in the article the doctors blame a focus on left-brain activities:

Originally Posted By:
Researchers debate just how much of that increase is due to better diagnosis and how much is an alarming jump in brain disorders. Some doctors blame more stress and environmental toxins for pregnant women and children, as well as technology — TV, video games and iPods — that keep kids sedentary and focused on fine-motor skills, functions controlled by the left side of the brain.

In Ricky's case, the right side of his brain is delayed, say his Brain Balance coaches — he misses the big picture and is obsessed with details, he tends to freak out when his routine is interrupted and he doesn't get the concept of personal space, affecting his ability to make friends.

I had been under the impression that weaknesses tend to be in the left brain because that develops later than the right. I've never heard anyone complain about too much focus on fine motor skills, but I suppose that a lack of gross motor movement could lead to all sorts of SPD issues. It sounds as though someone, maybe the reporter, got the causation backwards? (as an aside, I recall that when my dd9 was an infant, she spent more time doing fine motor stuff because she had gross motor problems - delay, hypononia, etc.; she didn't have gross motor problems because she focused on fine motor! Alas, years later, handwriting is still hard for her, as is slow processing speed when it comes to motor output.) I'm more inclined to believe that lack of gross motor activities, whatever the reason, will lead to poorer fine motor skills, which I think is what an OT would say. (Where are all these kids with the fabulous fine motor skills?) At the end of the article they do acknowledge the following:

Originally Posted By:
Some therapies for sale aren't necessarily based on widely accepted science, Gibson said. For example, she said, autistic children don't necessarily have a right-brain delay.

"We know it's a neurological disorder, but we don't know a specific brain site that has been identified," she said. "That hasn't been done yet."

Another tidbit that intrigues me:

Originally Posted By:
Founder Ken Gibson, a former pediatric optometrist, said kids with autism-spectrum disorder often have trouble blending sounds, which makes reading difficult. His therapy focuses on lengthening attention span, short-term memory and speed.

Hmmmm... If they could improve that sound-blending problem, that would be huge (two of my kids had issues with that, one of them majorly, and also I think it's a frequent feature of dyslexia)

Anyone have thoughts or comments? I know some of you out there have some more detailed theories on these issues smile


Edited by snowgirl (04/15/10 10:11 AM)

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#74075 - 04/15/10 12:06 PM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: snowgirl]
MegMeg Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/10
Posts: 488
This is a load of snake-oil. If they have one jot of peer-reviewed, methodologically-sound evidence that these therapies work, I will eat my hat.

(My field is cognitive neuroscience, so I'm allowed to be snarky about it. wink )

Seriously though, everything in this article sets off all the standard alarm bells. The blithe over-simplification of the science, the claims of outlandishly large results, the childishly simple theraputic techniques (a buzzer in the left ear will help autism? Really?) -- all of these are hallmarks of the pseudo-therapy industry. Don't even get me started on EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), or Facilitated Communication.

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#74085 - 04/15/10 02:04 PM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: MegMeg]
snowgirl Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 339
Thanks, I appreciate your response. The more I think about it, the more I think the article is an advertisement for the business.

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#74467 - 04/20/10 10:33 AM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: snowgirl]
knute974 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 595
Loc: controlled chaos
Wow, your kid sounds similar to mine. DD8 was my fine motor kid -- putting together and pulling apart legos large stacks of legos for hours at 18 months. Although she walked at a year, other gross motor skills have always seemed a little behind. Now she has difficulty with handwriting and struggles with the tri-pod grip.

I also have been hearing a lot about the Brain Balance Center in Golden. Based on what I have read and heard, something just doesn't feel right about this place. I have a friend who had her kid evaluated. They diagnosed a visual problem that would severely affect a child's reading even though her child is a voracious reader who is several grade levels ahead. Hmmm. . .

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#75224 - 05/01/10 12:00 PM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: MegMeg]
alli7 Offline
New Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1
The Brain Balance Program has come from 10 years of Dr. Robert Melillo's clinical experience and is backed 35 years of scientific research. His research can be found in his papers Autistic Spectrum Disorders as Functional Disconnection Syndrome which was published in Reviews in the Neurosciences which can be found on pubmed @ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19774789 and Functional Brain Organization in Developmental Dyslexia which was published in Focus on Dyslexia Research or if you are interested in reading his text book it is entitled Neurobehavioral disorders of childhood: an evolutionary perspective.
He has also founded the F.R. Carrick Institute, now known as the Children’s Autism Hope Project to further research autism in children. You can look it up at childrensautismhopeproject.org/

He also wrote a book to help parents that can't afford the program or are not near a center entitled Disconnected Kids. You can find it on amazon.com.

Hope that helps anyone thinking about the Brain Balance program. It really is helping kids with ASD and other learning disabilities. They are growing fast so if one is not in your area there likely will be soon. You can check out locations and more about the program at http://www.brainbalancecenters.com

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#75229 - 05/01/10 01:12 PM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: alli7]
ColinsMum Offline
Member

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1876
Loc: Scotland
I don't think MegMeg will need to eat her hat just yet. The PubMed indexed paper does not contain any evidence of the effectiveness of any therapy for any condition. (It may be interesting, it may be correct, it may even constitute a theoretical argument that certain treatment might work: I'm not qualified to judge - but it is easy to see that it isn't evidence of the effectiveness of treatment.) Focus on Dyslexia Research seems to be a book, not a peer-reviewed journal.

"Dr" Robert Melillo gets that title from being a Doctor of Chiropractic: he does not as far as I can find out hold either a PhD or an MD (a page dated 2008 described him as a "PhD candidate", i.e. a student). Anyone followed the UK Singh case?

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#75241 - 05/01/10 04:51 PM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: ColinsMum]
MegMeg Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/10
Posts: 488
Originally Posted By: ColinsMum
I don't think MegMeg will need to eat her hat just yet.
Whew! wink

More digging turns up further oddities: the PsycInfo database shows he has only three publications, just one of which is peer-reviewed (the one discussed above), and it is in a journal so obscure that I cannot access it through the University of California.

Originally Posted By: ColinsMum
Anyone followed the UK Singh case?

No, what's that about?

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#75248 - 05/01/10 08:05 PM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: MegMeg]
snowgirl Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 339
MegMeg, I'm interested to hear if you have an opinion on combination OT with listening therapy (a la Tomatis). The last time I looked into it (a few years ago when two of my kids did a short program of this at the Star Center), the listening therapy by itself was very controversial because the research did not show a benefit. (Not that there's any great amount of research re: OT for SPD anyhow.) The OT place wasn't using the listening therapy to treat APD however; they said it had something to do with making changes in the brain happen quicker. I never did get a satisfactory explanation for why it would help. Nonetheless, we did see some clearly positive, obvious changes from the program, though not exactly what we were expecting, and certainly at a significant cost (the majority of the cost was for the OT rather than the listening). I'm glad we did it but a few years down the road I'm more skeptical, and much too busy (we have more kids now) to concern myself with therapies with unclear success rates.

Something about the Brain Balance place reminds me of a weaker version of the OT with listening therapy (with even less research to back it up).

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#75259 - 05/02/10 01:24 AM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: MegMeg]
ColinsMum Offline
Member

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1876
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: MegMeg

Originally Posted By: ColinsMum
Anyone followed the UK Singh case?

No, what's that about?

Simon Singh, a distinguished British science writer (author of, for example, Fermat's Last Theorem (although how curious, it has a slightly different title in American), a beautifully accurate and accessible book which many of the mathy children here might enjoy), wrote an article for the Guardian in which he pointed out that there is "not a jot of evidence" that chiropracters can successfully treat many of the conditions they claim to treat. The British Chiropractic Association sued him for libel. To cut a very long story short, they lost (well, they withdrew because of a judgement along the way that made it clear to all that they'd lose). More details in the Wikipedia article and liberally scattered across the web, google singh bca.

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#75272 - 05/02/10 07:40 AM Re: Brain Balance Center? [Re: snowgirl]
MegMeg Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/10
Posts: 488
Originally Posted By: snowgirl
MegMeg, I'm interested to hear if you have an opinion on combination OT with listening therapy (a la Tomatis).
Hadn't heard of it before, but I did a quick search. PsycInfo turns up 8 peer-reviewed journal articles, just two of which report data using appropriate experimental design. Neither of those articles found any improvement with Tomatis methods.

Originally Posted By: snowgirl
they said it had something to do with making changes in the brain happen quicker.
This is rubbish. Anyone who could demonstrate a way to literally speed up the physical processes of the brain would be winning a Nobel Prize in medicine, and we would have all heard about it.

Originally Posted By: snowgirl
Nonetheless, we did see some clearly positive, obvious changes from the program, though not exactly what we were expecting
Sometimes improvement happens anyway, just through the passage of time. A lot of quack therapies are kept afloat by this fact. On the other hand, it's possible that the OT portion of the treatment was effective, though I would be deeply suspicious of OT "professionals" who believe in the Tomatis method.

References:

Brief report: The effects of Tomatis sound therapy on language in children with autism. Corbett, Blythe A.; Shickman, Kathryn; Ferrer, Emilio. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Vol 38(3), 2008, pp. 562-566

Two-year evaluation of the Tomatis Listening Training Program with learning disabled children. Kershner, John R.; Cummings, Richard L.; Clarke, Kenneth A.; Hadfield, Audrey J. Learning Disability Quarterly. Vol 13(1), 1990, pp. 43-53

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