BrainTrain was founded in 1989 by Joseph A. Sandford, Ph.D., to distribute the Captain’s Log Cognitive Training System. Dr. Sandford had written the first release of Captain’s Log in 1985, collaborating with Dr. Richard J. Browne, a neuropsychologist who sponsored his internship working with head-injured patients. The first release of Captain’s Log contained 21 programs for the Apple IIE computer. Since Dr. Sandford had been a programmer for GTE Telenet before receiving his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University, it was natural for him to perceive the unique ways in which the computer could be used to benefit head-injured patients.
In 1987, Dr. Sandford placed an ad for Captain’s Log in a computer magazine. The ad brought no sales! However, it did attract the attention of Dr. Ann Turner, a psychiatrist/programmer in California, who wrote to him offering her collaboration. Together, Dr. Turner and Dr. Sandford added fourteen new programs to Captain’s Log and updated the software, first for use on the Apple IIGS, then for PC.
Captain’s Log has now been completely revised and is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The most recent addition is the Personal Trainer, which helps the user to create customized, brain training plans for use with the Captain’s Log programs.
In 1994, Dr. Sandford and Dr. Turner produced the first version of the IVA CPT, the first commercially available, combined visual and auditory continuous performance test. IVA, now updated to IVA+Plus, has been enhanced by several interpretive report writers. It has been followed by SoundSmart, a set of auditory cognitive training programs, and a visual tracking, driving program, SmartDriver.
Despite its status as an international company – BrainTrain’s software is used extensively in all fifty states and in 27 foreign countries – the company is still essentially a family business. Dr. Sandford’s wife, Virginia, a graduate of Juilliard and a former concert pianist, serves as BrainTrain’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. The Sandford’s older daughter, Jennifer, is an invaluable member of the company team, and their son, Michael, who holds an MBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh, did much of the programming for the Windows release of Captain’s Log. In addition to their two grown children, the Sandfords also have a teenage daughter, Shana, who has already done research with IVA+Plus and has presented her study, “The Effect of Music on Attention,” at the national SNR meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2000. Her abstract is published in the Journal of Neurotherapy, 4, 4, 96-97.
In addition to his activities as a software developer, Dr. Sandford runs a busy private clinical neuropsychology practice, plays golf and is an avid science fiction fan.