Mark Tommerdahl

33 posts

The greatest thing since slicing bread from my diet

Twenty years ago, I would have really benefited from having a Brain Gauge.

At a recent workshop, we were asked some important questions about the Brain Gauge scoring system:

"Can you really see a change with diet?"
"How fast do the changes appear?"

The speed at which your Brain Gauge scores change will depend on the type of lifestyle changes you are making. After beginning an elimination diet, it may be weeks or even months before the toxins have left your body and ceased impairing your


How does the sense of touch differ from all other senses?

Vision and audition do not have the affective influence that somatosensation does.

If you take a quick survey of the number of publications on different sensory systems, you’ll quickly notice that there are about 100 times as many papers published on vision as there are on somatosensation. Vision does, after all, take up about 30% of cerebral cortex and the somatosensory cortex, the region that deals with the sense of touch, only takes up about 8%. This is one reason that many people like to test brain health visually


How do my Brain Gauge scores compare to everyone else?

An introduction to the Brain Gauge scoring system
In the ProTools (or RxTools) app, your Brain Gauge metrics reflect how your brain performance compares to population averages. If you have a score of 100 for any metric, you performed as good as (or better than) healthy controls from our subject population. We calculated the mean scores for our tests through years of clinical trials.

On the other hand, if you have a low Brain Gauge score (between 0 and 70), you scored poorly on that metric's tests compared to our


Self-perception as a means of assessing brain health

Self-assessment may not be the most accurate way to monitor your brain health.

Most people monitor their cognitive function by looking at how well they are able to perform routine activities. They only start to worry about brain health once it becomes difficult to read a book, drive a car, or think creatively. Unfortunately, by that point their brain health has likely been deteriorating for weeks or even months at a rate that is imperceptible but steady. This phenomenon - the inability to detect potentially harmful changes that happen gradually


Problems with concussion testing in sports

Most currently available concussion tests rely on baseline scores. At the beginning of the season, athletes complete an assessment to establish their baseline cognitive health. When an athlete sustains a head injury or shows symptoms of a concussion, a trainer or coach administers the test again and compares the two sets of scores. If the post-injury scores are substantially lower than the baseline results, athletes are removed from play.

At first glance, this approach seems reasonable. Everyone's brain is different, so by comparing a potentially concussed individual to that individual's


Measuring Neuroinflammation

The Timing Perception measure (or Duration Discrimination) comes from the test that asks you “which stimulus lasted longer?”. This score is useful on its own, but you can gain even more insight into your brain health by comparing it to your Duration Discrimination with confound score. The difference between these two scores is based on a brain illusion - a mistake that your brain makes when comparing two sensations. But don't worry - if your brain is making this mistake, it means that it's healthy!

How the illusion is created


Aging and brain plasticity: what causes the decline?

I’ve been in the research field for close to 40 years now (easily 40 if you count my years as an undergraduate biology major, when I was probably more interested in non-academic pursuits, but that is another story), and throughout that tenure, a question that has bothered people – as well as researchers – is why do people age at different rates? Why do some people age gracefully into their late 90s and others struggle through their 60s? As we began to do translational research (i.e., that brand of research


Fractal patterns in the brain

Why the Brain Gauge can detect even the smallest neurological changes

One of the chapters of my dissertation discussed the functional organization of mini-columns - the brain's smallest functional groups of neurons. Each mini-column is made up of a vertical array that runs from Layer 1 (outermost cells) to Layer 6 (innermost cells) in the cortex. Though these groupings can be difficult to study - a typical minicolumn is about 1/5 the thickness of a human hair - they can give crucial insight into the overall organization of the


What is the overall corticalmetric score?

If you are a Brain Gauge user, you've probably noticed the overall corticalmetric score. This comprehensive measure is calculated from all the tests that were taken in a single test session. If that is a sufficint explanation, then read no further.

When we first started developing cortical metrics – all the different measures collected by the Brain Gauge (and also the name of the company... we realize that can be confusing!) – we wanted to create a unique metric that could summarize the brain profile of each individual. We believe that it


Autism, GABA and the Brain Gauge: the history of our scientific efforts in the field.

The Brain Gauge methods predicted GABA deficits in autism that were later validated with medical imaging

After having many discussions with people who are interested in the Brain Gauge technology, I became increasingly aware that a vast majority assume the Brain Gauge was designed exclusively for assessing traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussion. Although we have received support from the Office of Naval Research for the development of the Brain Gauge as a standardized concussion tool, the development of the device began as a means for studying alterations in brain