SPECT Imaging Study Enhances Clinical Psychiatric Practice

Study reports 79% of diagnosis and/or treatment would have been different after the clinicians reviewed brain SPECT images.

Can you name a medical profession that prescribes medication or treatment without looking at the organ it treats? Psychiatry is the unfortunate answer, but here at the Amen Clinics we’re changing that.

Recently a new study titled “Specific Ways Brain SPECT Imaging Enhances Clinical Psychiatric Practice” was published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, an authoritative peer-reviewed periodical containing timely information of a multidisciplinary nature for clinicians and other professionals in the drug abuse field.

The study revealed how brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) imaging can help clinicians more accurately diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental conditions by looking at the organ responsible for the decision-making, behaviors and overall cognitive functioning.

Co-authored by Dr. Amen, Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D. and Joseph Anniballi, M.D., the study asked seven board certified psychiatrists to evaluate 109 patients’ files—without the SPECT images—and give their professional diagnosis and recommended treatment.  After they saw the SPECT scans, 79% of the diagnosis and/or treatment would have been different.  Additionally 22% of the patients showed unexpected brain injury, toxicity and 60% showed new targets for medication or supplements.

The SPECT images help the clinician understand where the brain is not functioning properly so they can give a more accurate diagnosis and treatment offering.

In our study, the use of SPECT neuroimaging modified the diagnostic thinking and led clinicians to make different, specific treatment recommendations in a high percentage of cases.

Brain SPECT imaging is a form of neuroimaging that reveals the underlying physiology of emotional, behavioral and cognitive disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADD, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, addiction, autism, seizures, strokes, toxic exposure, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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