Comprehensive Assessment of Postural Systems (CAPS) unit
A diagnostic tool to test for postural stability and the risk of falling:
The CAPS Unit creators have a notable philosophy on their website that states, “You can’t help balance patients if you don’t know who they are.”
Dr. Austin is the only practitioner in Boulder County who uses a CAPS Unit to test for postural stability and risk of falling.
The test is usually performed on the patient’s initial evaluations. Patients are tested for balance by standing on a computerized plate, and then a four-inch foam pad, with eyes open and closed. This information helps us understand more about core muscle stability, inner ear function and brain function.
The foam represents an unsteady surface like sand or carpet. Then, a balance therapy plan can be made for someone who has a moderate-to-severe balance problem.
The CAPS unit is instrumental in giving baseline tests and then benchmark tests, as the patients uses rehabilitation strategies and returns for frequent checks. With these tests, Dr. Austin is able to bring the patient back and show them objectively how much they have improved based on the data.
One way to tell that a patient is truly healing from a concussion is to check their balance several times over several weeks.
The CAPS Unit can help identify problems, like the elderly at risk of falling or an athlete with a possible concussion, where other methods may not have identified the risk. Many neurological, vestibular (inner ear) and postural problems may not have obvious symptoms, which is why we screen most of our patients with the device, in order to identify underlying risks.
We have the same philosophy as the CAPS Unit creators, which is “to help improve the quality of life for those who have balance problems as well as those at risk of having balance problems.” The CAPS Unit is a product of Vestibular Technologies, LLC. Find out more information at https://www.vestibtech.com/AboutUs.html).
Interactive Metronome (IM)
Measure and treat hand-eye coordination and brain timing:
Interactive Metronome (IM) is both a diagnostic and treatment modality that measures the brain’s ability to synchronize neural impulses.
More simply put, it measures hand-eye-foot coordination and brain timing.
Timing is huge in life. Think about how timing plays a part of your every day. If you clap at a child’s recital and you are early or late, it is obvious. If you punch the brake on your car too early or late, you could get in an accident. When you play sports, you use the timing between your brain, hands, and feet to hit or catch a ball, or to make a goal.
Timing is not just related to physical function; it is vital for cognition, speech, eye movements, and many other functions. Your brain is at peak performance when it is timing itself effectively and accurately.
The Interactive Metronome tests a patient by having the patient watch a visual flashing light, listen to an audible sound, and use a hand sensor or footpad to keep time with the auditory beat and visual stimulus. The computer records the milliseconds to which the patient is early or late with the beat of the sound and flashing light.
An abnormal sound also tells the patient how far off they are from the correct metronome cadence. With this data, Dr. Austin designs brain training exercises for the patients with and without the machine, to improve their reaction times and thus, the synchronization of their neural impulses.
ADHD Children and Common Timing Problems
Think about an ADHD child, whose accelerator (left brain) is often in overdrive and who doesn’t know how to use the brake (R brain) to slow down. This is a timing problem. Students in the classroom must look and listen to their teacher and then take notes either on paper or computer. That is multi-modal learning and is critical to the way the brain works. But sometimes, these kids find it difficult to process both the auditory and visual stimulus simultaneously due to faulty brain timing.
When Interactive Metronome is utilized, it teaches the child to slow down or speed up as needed based on the training program. Using IM, patients can program their cognitive function and physical movement to auditory and visual stimuli more efficiently.
Concussion, aging and vertigo and the IM system
The IM system also works well for concussion, aging, or vertigo patients who are having timing problems who perhaps cannot see very well, have brain fog or fatigue or may have sound or light sensitivity. This is where Dr. Austin can be of assistance to people who may have been through a program with their therapist or doctor and they’ve improved to a certain level, but they still don’t feel like themselves.
Our office can help you take the next step towards a better quality of life and get you to where you want to be.
Besides being an in office treatment tool, the Interactive Metronome system can also be purchased for home use. The software is loaded on your home computer, then you plug in the unit, paired with a hand sensor and footpad.
Dr. Austin programs the system by email, and then the patient can use prescribed programs that include eye exercises, balance therapies, and meditations to calm the sympathetic nervous system.
For more information about Interactive Metronome machines, visit their website at https://www.interactivemetronome.com/what-is-im.