• What We Should Know About Brain Balance

    by Luke Mike, (medical student rotation at wexlerpsych.com)

    What it is and what it is not.

    What it is:

    Brain balance is described as a non-medical and drug free program to address challenges with childhood disorders such as ADHD, autism, and processing disorders (Centers). It does this through the application of academic skill training, healthy nutrition, confidence building, as well as physical and sensory motor exercises (Centers). Physical and sensory exercises include activities such as walking across balance beams, syncing actions with computerized metronome, and being spun in swivel chairs (Benderev, 2018).

    It is a relatively new program that is supported by a number of parent testimonials on the Brain Balance website. There are 2 studies supporting its efficacy (Benderev, 2018). Research is still ongoing, as the program is now part of a research study at Harvard University’s McLean Hospital (Centers).

    The program was developed by a licensed chiropractor by the name of Robert Melillo (Benderev, 2018). He believes the fundamental issue of these disorders is functional disconnection syndrome, which he describes in his book Disconnected Kids (Benderev, 2018).

    What it is not:

    It is not a program that is supported by evidence-based medicine as it has not been thoroughly investigated by experts in the field of childhood development (Benderev, 2018). In 2015, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services still denoted the program to have insufficient evidence (Benderev, 2018).

    It is not a program covered by insurance. A common length of enrollment in the program is 6 months, in which families can accrue costs over $10,000 (Benderev, 2018).

    What treatments for ADHD are evidence based:

    The National Institute of Health in 1999 started the multimodal treatment study (MTA Study) of children with ADHD (MTA study)(Jensen, 1999). Data from this 14-month study showed that stimulant medication is most effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD (Jensen, 1999). The MTA study also found that combining behavioral treatment with medication was effective in helping parents, teachers, and caretakers manage behaviors that caused problems at home and school (Jensen, 1999).

    Unproven Treatments for ADHD:

    – Brain Balance – as mentioned above, still not proven, under investigation

    – chiropractic adjustments

    – metronome training

    – vision therapy

    – brain wave neurofeedback

    – herbal remedies

    – special diets

    (Reiff & Tippins, 2004)

    Benderev, C. (2018, June 18). ‘Cutting Edge’ Program For Children With Autism And ADHD Rests On Razor-Thin Evidence.

    Centers, B. B. A. (n.d.). Brain Balance Program Research and Results: Brain Balance Achievement Centers. Retrieved from https://info.brainbalancecenters.com/brain-balance-program-research-and-results2?_ga=2.60492589.1825094915.1579989619-137080426.1579989619

    Jensen, P. S. (1999). A 14-month randomized clinical trial of treatment strategies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Archives of general psychiatry, 56(12), 1073-1086.

    Reiff, M. I., & Tippins, S. (2004). ADHD: A complete and authoritative guide. American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Luke Mike, M.S. is currently a medical student in the class of 2021 at Kansas City University of Biomedical Sciences. He is pursing a career as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He has a masters degree in Human Physiology.

    Categories: child psychiatry, Uncategorized


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