The Center’s whole body, whole person approach to people with special needs clearly improves how well people function. Now, with a generous gift from the Hearst Foundation, we will inaugurate direct measurement of how we are affecting brain function by using a sensory-friendly EEG to measure changes in how the brain organizes its signals.
Challenging behaviors, sensory overload, stress and disrupted sleep all involve both the brain and the body. We believe that by improving food and nutrition and engaging in vigorous exercise, our residents and students are also improving their brains. With our new EEG program we will be able to measure these changes and see how our health promotion program helps the brain be better coordinated.
The Center partners with Dr. Martha Herbert, Asssitant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the TRANSCEND Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Dr. Herbert is taking the whole-body and environmental approach to the brain that is the hallmark of her research program and bringing it to the Center so that we can generate brain-body data from our truly whole-body approach to special needs. Dr. Herbert’s research has included brain imaging studies demonstrating differences in the development of white matter in autism, and she has been studying the relationship of brain and metabolism using EEG and biomarker measures in infants at high risk for autism and using metabolic neuroimaging correlated with MEG in school-age children. She is the author of The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be (Harvard Health Publications/Random House).