One of the strengths of the Brain Gauge is that, when used correctly, it is able to detect changes in your brain function before those changes are large enough to cause physical symptoms. Early detection is paramount for slowing, halting, or even reversing the progression of any disease, which is why monitoring is so important, especially if you are at increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease. Monitoring could (and should) be done by a doctor, but it can also be supplemented with a Brain Gauge (we should note that we cannot legally make any claims regarding the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder, but we can provide you with data that you and your doctor can use to make your own assessments).
So now we know why it’s especially important for people with ADHD to monitor their brain health (especially if they take amphetamine (AMPH) and/or methylphenidate (METH)), but how do you go about doing that? Simply having a Brain Gauge sitting on your desk in a box won’t do you much good—let’s outline what you should do with it:
Patient is diagnosed with ADHD. They may or may not be prescribed AMPH and/or METH to control symptoms.
Regardless of drug use, the patient should then test at home using a Brain Gauge.
Note that we expect ADHD patients to do poorly on Reaction Time Variability (Focus) and TOJ (Sequencing). More information about these tests can be found here:
Patient continues to monitor their brain health by testing with their Brain Gauge. We recommend starting out testing ~1x/week, preferably at the same time of day each time in order to minimize changes due to other factors. Once a reasonably steady “baseline” has been established and the patient understands how to take the tests, they can begin testing about 1 or 2 times per month to monitor long-term changes.
Patient should keep an eye out for the following changes in Brain Gauge scores that would indicate early signs of Parkinson’s Disease or other diseases of the basal ganglia and cerebellum:
*Most significantly, you will notice a worsening of Duration Discrimination (Timing Perception) scores (see https://insights.corticalmetrics.com/timing-perception-measure/ for more information regarding interpretation of this metric).
*May also notice a slowed Reaction Time (Speed): https://insights.corticalmetrics.com/speed-measure/
*TOJ (Sequencing) may get worse: https://insights.corticalmetrics.com/toj-measure/
Should the patient notice any of the above trends, they should contact their doctor to review results and determine a plan of action (if your doctor is not familiar with the Brain Gauge, you may have to educate them!).
After making changes to your treatment plan (be that discontinuing use of AMPH/METH, making lifestyle changes, or perhaps beginning some sort of treatment for early Parkinson’s Disease / other basal ganglia and cerebellum disorders (PD/BG&C) we can’t make that call for you), increase your frequency of testing to at least 1x/week. Again, you’ll be looking for trends in scores over time, so more frequent testing allows you to more easily detect those changes.
If scores continue to get worse, you and your doctor can re-evaluate your treatment plan, make changes, and then return to Step (6).
If scores stabilize (or maybe even improve!) with changes in treatment, frequency of Brain Gauge testing can be decreased back to 1x/month (but remember you’re more likely to detect changes early if you continue to test more frequently).
*If you had one or two tests previously showing a downward trend that were stabilized or reversed, you could simply do that/those tests weekly to monitor your known weak spots, and a full battery of tests could be performed on a monthly basis.
The above methods are simply a suggestion and can be altered on a personal basis. Of course, testing more frequently than recommended is completely acceptable and would likely result in noticing a trend earlier before more severe cognitive changes have taken place. It’s important to note that significant changes due to the development of PD will not happen overnight, so you do want to look for trends, not a sudden change in test scores—the Brain Gauge app allows you to map scores for each test over time, so the more data points you have (i.e. the more often you test), the easier it is to see a trend and not just normal acute fluctuations from things like sleep deprivation. If you have one bad testing session, it likely doesn’t indicate anything significant, but if your scores are slowly getting worse over time, it’s probably time to talk to your doctor, especially if you are taking prescribed medications to treat ADHD.
This article and steps outlined above may be specific for detection of PD/BG&C disease in ADHD patients, but they can be modified for monitoring and/or detecting and/or treating other neurological conditions, chronic pain, lifestyle changes, nootropic use… whatever your personal needs are. If you have a suggestion for another specific topic you’d like us to go in-depth with and outline recommended Brain Gauge use for, let us know!