What You Need To Know About Your Cerebellum, with Mary Schlesinger

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Dr. Daniel Amen says that the brain is like the Rodney Dangerfield of the brain – it gets no respect. In fact, despite being 10% of the brain’s mass, it uses half of the brain’s neurons. So why is the cerebellum such an important part of the brain, and what happens when it has trouble? In this episode, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen are joined by interactive metronome expert Mary Schlesinger for a discussion on how the cerebellum affects your coordination and processing.

For more information on interactive metronome training, visit https://www.amenclinics.com/services/interactive-metronome-training/

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Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel. Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.

Daniel Amen, MD:           Welcome everyone. We are so excited to have you and… I don’t know if you heard, but The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:           I did.

Daniel Amen, MD:           … was one of the top 20 all-time podcasts in mental health on Apple.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:         So, thank you, all of you.

Daniel Amen, MD:           We just went over 8 million downloads. And so we’re grateful to all of the people who want to be brain warriors, want to have better brains and better lives. And this week, we’re going to talk about the cerebellum, which I actually call the Rodney Dangerfield part of the brain. And you know you’re getting old when the young people on your team have no idea who Rodney Dangerfield is. But Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian who used to always make jokes around, “I get no respect.” And he didn’t get any respect from his wife, his kids, [inaudible [00:01:57] act and relate. Anyways-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:           I’m sorry. Say it again.

Daniel Amen, MD:           The cerebellum, back bottom part of your brain has 10% of the brain’s volume but half of the brain’s neurons. And it is so important that over the years, I’ve always been looking for ways to strengthen it. And we’re going to talk with our team member, Mary Schlesinger, who is our Interactive Metronome trainer at Amen Clinics in Reston, although she does it for people around the world. She began using this technology, which we’re going to talk about with the goal of improving the lives of people who had cognitive and neurological challenges. Mary has a BA with a teaching certificate and an MBA, and has been working with the Interactive Metronome, actually, for the last 15 years. So, she is deeply experienced. We’re going to talk about what it is. We’re going to talk about post-pandemic suffers and veterans. We’re going to talk about who can benefit from it. Mary, welcome to The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:         This is so interesting. When I think of the Metronome, I think of voice training. So this is fascinating to hear about it being used for the brain. And I know we do it at the clinics, but I don’t know that a lot of people really have heard of Metronome training for…

Mary Schlesinger:          Right. And that’s why I appreciate the opportunity to come and educate people. I had never heard of it. And the first time that I heard of it, there’s a man I knew of who was using it actually for Parkinson’s and he had tremendous results. And he happened to mention it to his adult daughter because several of her children were having challenges in school. They were really bright kids, but things happen. And so one by one, she started taking them through the program. And so I’m sort of seeing this in the lives of people I knew. But then I also found out that this was used in hospitals and it was used in rehab centers, and even military hospitals were using it for blast injury and some other things. So when I found that out, I thought this is a technology to take seriously if they’re using it at this level. And that caught my attention.

And then another thing that got me involved, I found out that when they were doing the research on this, they were doing functional MRIs on the individuals before they went through the program. And then when the program was over, they were taking MRIs again, so they were able to see what parts of the brain were impacted. To me, that just meant this is a really powerful technology. It’s not just a matter of “How do you feel? Do you feel a little better in this area or that?”.

So my intention and the thing that I thought was most beautiful about this is being able to just take this out into the general public. I mean, why wait until you’re in a hospital situation or you’re in the rehab center to have access to this? So really anyone can use it. I mean, obviously people use it who are having particular struggles, but you don’t have to even have a particular diagnosis or condition to benefit from it. And what they think happens, they theorize that it’s actually resetting the timing in the brain at the millisecond level. And so we do know that rhythm and timing is a baseline brain function. And if you can straighten that out, then a lot of other brain functions start to follow the place.

And so when I’m explaining this during an assessment, I tell people, “Think of when you’re watching a movie, maybe recorded something on your DVR, and you turn it on and you can see the actor’s lips moving but you’re not hearing it in sync. And you know you can watch it that way but you know it’s going to kind of drive you crazy and it’s going to be a little bit irritating and it’s just going to interfere with your focus and so forth. So you rewind and fast forward and then it syncs up. Right? So think of the brain that way. Or let’s say, you’re going to go listen to an orchestra and most of the musicians are playing perfectly, but you have a group of musicians that are coming in way too fast and another group that are coming in after the beat. And again, you might be able to identify the piece, but it’s not the way that you want to hear it. It’s not why you came to the concert.” So I say, “Think of the brain that way.”

But the nice thing about this technology is that anybody can use it, a baby, a student, a veteran, seniors. And it’s just so broad in its application. And even the idea of working with babies, we didn’t know you could do that, at first. And there was a therapist that was working with a baby that had agenesis of the corpus callosum. And basically, this baby was a little ragdoll laying in her crib. And the doctor said, “Don’t expect anything from this poor little baby.”

And so the therapist just wasn’t getting anywhere with the tools that she had. So she asked the mom if she would be able to have her permission to do some Metronome on her. And she didn’t know what to expect. So she put headphones on the baby and she strap the hand sensor around her hand, and she started making the different movements just hand over hand. And obviously, the baby had no idea what was taking place. But what happened that night was the baby giggled for the very first time. And then every time this therapist came, there was another change and another change and another change. And it was just pretty amazing.

And so this little baby who they had told the family, “Make the home wheelchair accessible. She’s never going to be able to walk or move,” it got to the point where she was able to sit upright. She was making eye contact. She was starting to babble. She had sensory processing issues and that also downed. She was starting to make crawling motions. Things were happening left and right. And they got her to the point where she could then step away from Metronome and go do other technologies or other therapies to help her, and then they could circle back to Metronome later.

So that was huge because we thought you had to be able to follow simple instructions, maybe five, six, seven years old. And so this sort of broke open a whole another group of people that we could help. And really when you think of it, it’s not just babies. At any age, someone could have such a disability that they really can’t function and do so many therapies that are out there. But by doing it, hand over hand, the brain doesn’t know the difference. And I’ve used that with some of the people I work with, and they’re not in the situation that this little baby, but they’re so off the beat that I can sort of fast-track them, help them along. So I think that’s just great that we can use it different ways.

And then there’s one other thing I wanted to say to introduce this. Some people want to have a non-medication approach. They just prefer that, or in some cases they’ve had an addiction issue and they don’t want to go down that road. I work with a lot of people who have ADHD, a lot of kids, usually school-age boys. And it seems to me that there’s two camps of parent. The parents who say, “There’s no way you’re going to medicate my five-year-old or my 10-year-old,” or anything like that. And they’ll just walk out the door if you bring up that conversation. And then you have another group of parents who say, “We really don’t have a problem with medication. It’s just that the one that we were using, it’s gone flat. It’s not working,” or “The boy now has a flat aspect,” whatever. So my goal is to use Metronome to mitigate the symptoms to the point where they then have a choice to step away from the medications they want to. And so that’s the way that I approach it. That’s how I go through this training.

Daniel Amen, MD:           We all have… At amen clinics, we have this mantra “First, do no harm. Use the least toxic, most effective treatment.” And the Interactive Metronome where you put a sensor in your hand, for most people, and clap to the sound of the Metronome, many of our ADD-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:           That’s how it works?

Daniel Amen, MD:           Yes. Many of our ADD or learning disabled kids and adults, they’re really pretty terrible at it initially. And then with training over time, the better they get, the better the timing gets in the brain. Their focus gets better. Their mood gets better. Their processing speed gets better and there are no side effects. People also use it to be better at sports, for example. When we come back, Mary, let’s talk about some of the cases you’ve worked with and the differences you’ve seen with the Interactive Metronome. Stay with us.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:         If you’re enjoying The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode. And while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD: If you’re considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.