When I was a young boy, there was nothing I wanted more than a model train set. They fascinated me. I loved the intricacy of the scenery, the train track inter-connections, the little people all looking so busy loading bags or waving off passengers, yet motionless at the same time. That’s not to mention the trains themselves – so realistic and almost magical in the way they ran by themselves, dutifully motoring around the track until the train set was switched off. I never got a train set when I was young, but maybe that made my yearning even stronger, as I have not lost my love and fascination for model train sets now. And as I am in my middle-age, the chances are, I will not lose that love into my older years. Thankfully, occasional visits to the Burnaby Central Railway at Confederation Park in Burnaby helps to scratch that itch. (Go on – give it a go!)1

I must have grown up, because while I still pine for a train set, what I really want now is NeuroCatch. For a therapist wanting to assess cognitive health in a simple and objective manner, it really does not get better than this. And to get all local rah rah about this, NeuroCatch is developed out of Surrey, BC. True cutting edge innovation that could have a massive influence on the way we view brain health, being developed right in our backyard! I cannot explain the NeuroCatch system better than this handy dandy little video can – so I’m not going to try. What I can do it exalt the many benefits of such a system for a therapist treating cognitive issues. The testing identifies specific areas of brain functioning or dysfunction. Coupled with functional cognitive tests, this has the potential to provide the therapist with specific data-driven areas in which to intervene. Using the principals of neuroplasticity and the old adage of ‘cells that fire together, wire together’, the therapist can get to work implementing process training and the other elements of cognitive rehabilitation in order to remediate the areas of deficit. Without that knowledge of specific areas to work on, the intervention would be more of a scattergun approach and may be too diluted across to0 many cognitive domains to make a real difference. Objective biomarkers are the real deal in terms of measuring change, so in a perfect world, whack on the NeuroCatch testing gear after a round of rehab and get scores which will determine if real physiological change has taken place. This then informs the next round of treatment and so on.

So maybe when I grow up (some more), I will get my hands on the NeuroCatch system to use with my clients. Or maybe, like the model train set, I will never have one. In the meantime, I’ll continue to salivate at its potential, and continue to develop my assessment methods that, for now, are extremely useful, specific and effective in identifying cognitive dysfunction (check out my programs here), not to mention they are more cost effective. But it’s always good to dream, isn’t it?

1 It’s said that you don’t stop playing because you get old; you get old because you stop playing – so go take that train ride!

Written by Tom Grant, Occupational Therapist (MOT)

Image by Open Clip Art Vectors

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