Front Neurol. 2023 Sep 25;14:898781. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2023.898781. eCollection 2023.
BACKGROUND: The substantial evidence that neural timing deficits are prevalent in developmental disorders, aging, and concussions resulting from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is presented.
OBJECTIVE: When these timing deficits are remediated using low-level movement-discrimination training, then high-level cognitive skills, including reading, attention, processing speed, problem solving, and working memory improve rapidly and effectively.
METHODS: In addition to the substantial evidence published previously, new evidence based on a neural correlate, MagnetoEncephalography physiological recordings, on an adult dyslexic, and neuropsychological tests on this dyslexic subject and an older adult were measured before and after 8-weeks of contrast sensitivity-based left-right movement-discrimination exercises were completed.
RESULTS: The neuropsychological tests found large improvements in reading, selective and sustained attention, processing speed, working memory, and problem-solving skills, never before found after such a short period of training. Moreover, these improvements were found 4 years later for older adult. Substantial MEG signal increases in visual Motion, Attention, and Memory/Executive Control Networks were observed following training on contrast sensitivity-based left-right movement-discrimination. Improving the function of magnocells using figure/ground movement-discrimination at both low and high levels in dorsal stream: (1) improved both feedforward and feedback pathways to modulate attention by enhancing coupled theta/gamma and alpha/gamma oscillations, (2) is adaptive, and (3) incorporated cycles of feedback and reward at multiple levels.
CONCLUSION: What emerges from multiple studies is the essential role of timing deficits in the dorsal stream that are prevalent in developmental disorders like dyslexia, in aging, and following a TBI. Training visual dorsal stream function at low levels significantly improved high-level cognitive functions, including processing speed, selective and sustained attention, both auditory and visual working memory, problem solving, and reading fluency. A paradigm shift for treating cognitive impairments in developmental disorders, aging, and concussions is crucial. Remediating the neural timing deficits of low-level dorsal pathways, thereby improving both feedforward and feedback pathways, before cognitive exercises to improve specific cognitive skills provides the most rapid and effective methods to improve cognitive skills. Moreover, this adaptive training with substantial feedback shows cognitive transfer to tasks not trained on, significantly improving a person’s quality of life rapidly and effectively.