Think Outside The Brain Box

Written By: David Burns

outside the boxJust ask “why?” or how about trying “well if that is true what about ….” Thinking outside the box is the only way to get your head out of the dark box of dogma.

Dig deeper with the questions, not from a “that can’t be attitude” not from the “ya, but” camp. Simply, make observations and search for explanations. Make your own hypothesis and test that hypothesis.

I am confronted everyday by people wanting proof for “my program”. My program is all around them. It isn’t new per say. It certainly isn’t magic or unexplainable, requiring that someone “believe”. The reality is that the brain training I do for sports is simply based off the “brain training” one might do to rehabilitate a brain post injury. It is the same thing.

Brain Centers NW’s brain training program simply employs known neurophysiological facts. It is a process of taking things from a clinical setting and applying to the “healthy”. Healthy in this case just means “no symptoms”. But “no symptoms”, does not mean high functioning or optimized functioning. It only means you are getting by. Do you want to just get by? No? Than step outside of the box.

  • We know that a traumatic brain injury like a sports concussion is a metabolic issue. An energy crisis of sorts.
  • We know that those that have ADHD, dyslexia or other learning disabilities have a worse prognosis in the event of an injury.
  • We measure the “strength” of brain areas based off of functional imaging that tells us about the metabolic activity of various aspects of brain. Example low metabolic activity = decreased strength which = decreased function.
  • We know that various brain challenges like ADHD can be seen as a metabolic issue, or diminished response to an imposed mental challenge.

So pause here for second:

  • concussion = metabolic issue
  • neurobehavioral issue (e.g. ADHD) = metabolic issue
  • area of brain with metabolic issue sustains a trauma that is defined by metabolic issue = worse prognosis

Make sense? Think of it like this, if you had one strong knee and one weak knee and they both sustained a trauma which one will have a greater likelihood of sustaining an injury? Which one will have a harder time recovering, the weaker knee or the stronger knee?

Now don’t stop here. Get right out of the box.

If this is true and neurons are neurons, than would it not be true that any area with diminished function; which would be revealed to be weak based off of its metabolic function; would also have a worse prognosis in the event of a traumatic brain injury like a sports concussions? Sure seems probable to me.

Well, what if we could measure function or strength for various areas of brain. What about looking at things like ImPACT testingeye functionbalance and motor coordination as “windows” into brain function? That is, look at other diagnostics that reflect how well various regions of “brain muscle” are doing, which would likely parallel metabolic activity and reflect strength.

So great, now what? What do we do with our bodies to try and prevent injuries? We strengthen them. How do we strengthen different aspects of our body? Well that answer is simple…. we exercise it. So why not do the same thing with brain training? Your brain like a muscle can be exercised. Exercise for a neuron like for a muscle builds protein inside it. Protein activation stabilizes cell and improves function.


  • Function measured by metabolic activity
  • Metabolic activity equals increased strength (i.e. activation increase protein replication)
  • Low function equals worse outcome
  • High function equals better outcome
  • Measure “brain muscle” and determine function
  • Exercise “brain muscle” to strengthen
  • Strengthen to improve function and theoretically protect brain

Makes sense right? Need objective measures? I have that. Need to know the detail of how? I have that? Need testimonials? I have that. So why the lack of action?

People are uncomfortable challenging their mental constructs. We are social animals and take cues from others. Rather than analyzing the facts we sometimes just resort to a mentality that “if it was so important, the others would be doing it”. When it pertains to brain, this approach is a costly mistake.

This is not about BELIEVING!! This is about UNDERSTANDING and doing something different.

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