I felt cautious excitement when I saw research published last week that attested to what I have been screaming from rooftops to psychiatry practitioners and patients for years: We should be looking at the brains we are treating.
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, a team out of Emory University showed that brain scans may be able to predict whether depressed patients would get better results from being treated with antidepressant medication or psychotherapy. If you are familiar with the Amen Clinics approach to treatment of mood and behavior disorders, you know that a key component to our work is brain SPECT imaging, a type of brain scan that shows brain function. For decades now we have used SPECT as a tool to see how a patient’s brain function factors into their psychiatric condition. We believe that our use of SPECT is a major contributor to our higher-than-average treatment success rates.