Clinics Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Amen Clinics’ methodology? +
The Amen Clinics combines comprehensive evaluations, SPECT imaging, and brain-healthy habits in our methodology for treating a variety of conditions. Our patient historians are adept at conducting interviews with patients that lead to previously-undisclosed health information. Next, SPECT technology captures data on the patient’s brain. And finally, once we have obtained a greater understanding of the patient’s cerebral health a customized treatment can be prescribed.
How do the Amen Clinics help patients with ADHD & learning problems? +
The SPECT scans help us identify the type of ADD/ADHD the patient has so that we may make personalized treatment recommendations. By knowing the individual brain pattern, we are able to treat a patient’s specific brain type. The scans also teach us that there are many natural things that we can do to help balance the brain.
How can you help people with Autistism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)? +
As a health care professional, it is important to identify the specific type of issues your patients with ASD are facing because you can make informed treatment decisions. Through a SPECT scan, you can gain a deeper understanding of the patient’s brain and thus have the opportunity to develop more effective treatment plans.
How can you help people with anxiety, depression & bipolar disorders? +
When evaluating anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders, it is very important for the patient to know their specific brain type and target the treatment accordingly, whether it be natural supplements, medication, or dietary intervention. When the patient perceives their condition as a medical problem rather than a moral problem, we find decreased stigma and increased treatment compliance.
How can you help people with addictions? +
SPECT scans form an integral part of addiction treatment for the following reasons:
- It helps decrease stigma and increase compliance. When patients see evidence of poor brain health, they feel less guilty and more inclined to improve their habits.
- They help us identify underlying problems that may contribute to the addiction, such as ADD, brain trauma, or depression.
How can you help people with memory problems? +
We are dedicated to helping patients prevent future memory problems in their life. Through a SPECT scan, we can identify possible signs of future dementia, which gives us the chance to intervene and delay the disease. Also, SPECT scans can help the patient see if they are vulnerable, and get them motivated to treat a condition that many patients fail to disclose to their physicians.
What does the Amen Clinics do besides brain SPECT scans? +
At the Amen Clinics, our approach to treatment is based on the patient’s biological, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being. We have many modalities to support each of these approaches which vary at each of our clinics. Some treatment options include: psychotherapy, marital and family counseling, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and neurofeedback.
Does SPECT imaging change the diagnosis in the Amen Clinics’ patients? +
Yes. In our research studies, having a SPECT scan changed the diagnosis or treatment plan 79% of the time.
Do you have outcome studies that support your treatments? +
Yes. Our outcome studies show that after 6 months, 77% of our patients report high levels of improvement. They also report an 85% increase on their quality of life (based on the “Quality of Life Inventory” questionnaire).
Does the Amen Clinic treat complex cases? +
Yes. On average, our patients come to the Amen Clinics with 4.2 diagnoses and have failed 3 providers and 6 medications.
Does insurance cover any of the costs of the treatment? +
Some insurance companies do cover the cost of the scans and evaluation; others cover certain parts of the evaluation and/or scans. We do provide insurance codes on our website to facilitate discussions with the insurance company before scheduling.
Are there risks associated with SPECT imaging? +
There is some radiation exposure with SPECT imaging; however, it is less than most CT scans,. There has been no evidence of harm from a brain SPECT scan.
Can Amen Clinics accept scans performed elsewhere? +
Many people come to Amen Clinics seeking a second opinion on scans performed elsewhere. While there are some compatibility considerations, we are happy to perform this service.
To arrange the reading, contact our Imaging Department at (949) 236-8632. The patient will need to sign forms authorizing the release of their medical information to their physician. The optical disk should be sent to the Orange County Clinic in Costa Mesa, CA to the attention of Nuclear Imaging Coordinator (please see address below). Fees are $400 per scan, and must be paid in advance.
IMPORTANT: you will need to ensure that the scans are compatible with our software, database, and reading protocols.
View scan compatibility criteria +
- Scans must be performed with a Picker Prism 3000 camera (S or XP model). Low–energy, high-resolution (LEHR) fan beam collimators are preferred, but parallel hole collimators are an acceptable substitute. In the absence of a Prism 3000 camera, a Picker Axis camera may be used. A Picker Prism 2000 is a third alternative.
- Usual tracer dosage is 20-25 millicuries of Ceretec (dose calculated by weight). Neurolite is not a recommended substitute radiopharmaceutical for our protocol.
- Please note that Ceretec is not a dye and there are no known serious allergic reactions to this substance.
- Ideally, concentration studies should use the Connors Continuous Performance test, which we use at Amen Clinics. This test, which takes about 15 minutes, focuses the brain on one activity.
- The scan should be acquired with a step-and-shoot acquisition protocol (rather than a continuous acquisition protocol, such as RAS). Patient motion should be minimized and the study should be performed to acquire a minimum of 10 million counts.
- The raw, unprocessed data should be loaded onto an optical disc. (Please contact our Nuclear Imaging Coordinator to obtain details about acceptable media formats. Self executable DICOM viewers are not acceptable.)
Send your optical disc to:
ATTN: Nuclear Imaging Coordinator
3150 Bristol St #400
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Once these criteria are fulfilled and you have made the appropriate arrangements with our office, your study will be read and we will provide a report for the referring physician. Thank you very much for your interest in Amen Clinics.
Does the patient need to be off medication before a scan? +
We know some people worry they may not get accurate scans on medication, but we scan many people on their medications and the scans are still very valuable.
Never discontinue any medication or nutritional supplement necessary to the patient’s physical health. These include, but are not limited to, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, diabetes medicines, thyroid medications, and medications that treat heart or lung problems.