Friday, August 12, 2011

Assessment of Second Round of Interactive Metronome and Other Things

 Had a chat with Maude today about the second round of Interactive Metronome (IM).  I have really improved on all my scores.  I am down from an average total score in the 70 millisecond range to the 40s.  With another round of IM, she thinks I can get my scores down to the 20s and quite possibly the teens. 

Tiger Woods putting on the 8th green at Torrey...Image via WikipediaTiger Woods does IM and he is in the low teens himself.  It does look like I am getting in touch with my jock side of myself.  However, before I start packing myself off on the PGA circuit, I am sure he is a lot more consistent in his scores than I am and that there is a lot more to golf than the ability to control your limbs on cue.  But, it is a pleasant daydream. 

She also notes that my therapist, Ann, has seen that I am a lot less hyperactive during my second round of IM than my first.  I told Maude that I feel that the second round of IM was a lot easier than the first round.  During the first round, I felt absolutely pushed to the limit and was dizzy, exhausted and ready to vomit.  So chattering was a very good way to distract myself and keep going.  Unfortunately, the IM session is so highly scheduled that there is no time for chatter. This second time was a lot easier and a whole lot less taxing.   I also knew the time constraints and the need to focus in order to get the maximum benefit from the session.

At the same time that I have been doing IM, I have gotten increased binocular vision (3D vision).  I feel like I got a lift from IM on that.  Although there are no scientific studies to prove this claim.  Somehow, I feel that the reorganization of brain function and the improved timing has improved my depth perception.  Dont know whether this causation, causality, or serendipity. 

IM has definitely helped my hearing in noise.  I do much better in noisy cocktail parties than I have in the past. 

We also talked about the next steps.  I will do one more round of IM and then I will do Captain's Log at home.  Captain's Log is cognitive training software that I can do at home. Captain's Log has a number of modules that focus on:
  • Attention Skills
  • Cognitive Skills 
  • Visual Motor Skills  
  • Numeric Concepts/Memory Skills  
  • Logic Skills 
  • Working Memory Skill
  • Auditory Working Memory Skills 
  • Real Life Working Memory Skills
I think that there is some overlap with some of the drills I have done in vision therapy and Brain Fitness but there will be a lot that is new for me.

Also, we addressed a couple of other issues.  I told Maude that I am having problems hearing consonants.  She is trying out a new program to help with auditory processing and asked if I would like to be a guinea pig for a free trial of the program.   We will do this in September after IM. 

I asked Maude about developing a therapeutic program for smell.  She said that she doesn't know a lot about the sense of smell and that no one really understands it fully but she does know a bit about training programs for neurologically based disorders and is willing to help me sort out this problem.   I definitely have some sense of smell as I could smell the University of Pennsylvania Medical School after a snootful of afrin and lidocaine.  I am not sure whether it is a matter of finding the right chemical to put up the nose or whether it is a matter of snooting up the right sequence of stuff. 

The smell clinic at Penn had let me loose with a general advice about smelling everyday.  I am not really getting anywhere with smell and would like to approach this problem in a more disciplined manner.   I definitely have some sense of smell as I could smell the University of Pennsylvania Medical School after a snootful of afrin and lidocaine.  I am not sure whether it is a matter of finding the right chemical to put up the nose or whether it is a matter of snooting up the right sequence of stuff.   But I am willing to investigate and see what can be done about this. 

Molly Birnbaum was an aspiring chef who lost her sense of smell in a car accident that fractured her skull, broke her pelvis, tore her knee to shreds—and destroyed her sense of smell. This accident forced her to suspend her culinary career and set her off on a quest to regain her smell.  Molly picked herself up and set off on a grand, entertaining quest in the hopes of learning to smell again. In the review of her book, Season to Taste:  How I Lost My Smell and Found My Way,  Molly explores the science of olfaction, pheromones, and Proust's madeleine; she meets leading experts, including the writer Oliver Sacks, scientist Stuart Firestein, and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel; and she visits a pioneering New Jersey flavor lab, eats at Grant Achatz's legendary Chicago restaurant Alinea, and enrolls at a renowned perfume school in the South of France, all in an effort to understand and overcome her condition.  Sounds like a gal after my own heart. I have just ordered her book and will let my Gentle Readers know what Maude and I will be coming up with.  Maybe there is a way to short circuit this by doing things in a bit more focused and compressed way.  On the one hand, there is sitting around sniffing vials with a therapist.  On the other, there is going out to eat in fantastic restaurants, going to parfumiers, and trying out new flavors. 

Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY...Culinary Institute Image via Wikipedia I have pondered going to the CIA to understand more about smell.... No, not the CIA of covert operations, but the Culinary Institute of America up in Hyde Park.  They have to train chef's palates and sense of smell.  And I had thought on my own about contacting the Givaudan Perfumery School in Argenteuil, France to understand the foundations of smell for parfumiers.  But apparently, Molly has beat me to it.

So, we have our program set out for us:  Do another round of IM and do Captain's Log.  Participate in a trial of auditory processing software.  Devise a smell training program.

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