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Measuring Brain Speed in Recovery


Brain speed. It’s one of the seven parameters used to assess Vinland clients’ health.

But how can you measure brain speed exactly?

It simply takes a pegboard, timer, and some numbers.

Vinland Fitness and Wellness Manager Jeff Willert administers the Purdue Pegboard test for clients twice while they are at Vinland’s residential campus in Loretto.

“We use it for fine motor and gross motor skills as well as measuring clients’ cognitive speed and mental acuity,” Willert said.

For the past six years, Vinland has been administering the test with the Purdue Pegboard as a way to do more objective measurements of clients’ brain speed and hand-eye dexterity.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response of improved speed and seen huge changes between the pre and post tests,” Willert said. “I think once clients’ brains clear from getting physical exercise, eating healthier, and sleep-which all happen here-their brain acuity gets better.”


Willert calls it the “clouds lifting” referring to the cognitive cloudiness that many clients have when they come to Vinland.

“The test works both sides of the brain and the brain is more involved,” Willert said. “We love to see the improvement from when we first give them the test to the second time before they leave.”

Clients can practice the pegboard throughout their time at Vinland, but many only do it the two times required.

“Most clients do more cardio or more physical work rather than work at the pegboard,” Willert said. “Many clients find the board very challenging.”

Clients are also asked to look at a paper with the numbers 1 through 100 and circle each number as fast as they can while timed. This is also administered as a test when clients first arrive and right before they leave. The numbers test looks only at brain speed, Willert said. But there is remarkable progress made with that as well.

According to Willert’s study on the seven parameters measuring clients’ health at Vinland, all clients brain speed increased by 14 percent.