Autism Spectrum Disorder


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are diagnosed today more than ever before: Autism currently affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys (Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism), and costs a family $60,000.00 annually.1

How Amen Clinics Can Help

The Amen Clinics have been doing sophisticated brain imaging studies on people with ASD for over two decades. This has taught us that the brain patterns that characterize ASD varies from person-to-person. And, not surprisingly, we discovered that a treatment regimen that worked well for one ASD patient did not necessary work as well for others. This realization made it possible for us to match up treatments with specific SPECT brain patterns and get best results.

Click this link to watch a very brief (1m11s) video featuring Dr. Amen discussing “How we help with autism & autism spectrum disorders”.

Hear what a mother & RN with a severely autistic son has to say about the individualized care she found at Amen Clinics for her boy by clicking this link (4m13s).

And if you can spare 8 minutes, watch this video featuring the mother of Joey, a 10 year old high functioning ASD child, who found “missing pieces of the puzzle” (missed diagnoses, targeted treatments) at Amen Clinics.

SPECT Imaging

SPECT imaging (which stands for single-photon emission computerized tomography) is a special kind of photograph we take of the brain that shows which areas are working normally and which are not (Too little or too much activity). SPECT can specifically help children and families with ASD by:

  • Helping identify the type of ASD which is then matched to a MORE SPECIFIC precise treatment program
  • Finding out if there are other co-existing conditions that need to be addressed
  • Seeing how well the treatment is working
  • Reducing emotional pain and stigma by demonstrating that symptoms and behaviors are not imaginary
  • Increasing treatment compliance by use of brain images that show treatment-related improvements
  • Helping families gain a better understanding of the disorder through visual means
  • Possibly providing needed support documentation for special services or legal issues

Common SPECT Findings

In our decades of work with both adults and children who have ASD, we have identified brain activity and blood flow patterns that are most often seen in them. Here is the most commonly seen brain activity:

  • Increased activity in the anterior cingulate and lateral prefrontal cortex (causing ASD sufferers to get stuck on negative thoughts)
  • Smaller, less active cerebellums (impeded or poor motor skills & thought coordination)
  • Decreased posterior hemisphere activity, especially in the parietal and temporal lobes
  • Often a “Ring of Fire” pattern which is overall increased activity throughout the brain, which may be associated with inflammation
  • Overall decreased activity and scalloping, which is associated with environmental toxicity
  • Sometimes a head injury pattern is revealed

Seth’s Story

Seth was 16 when his mother brought him to the Amen Clinics to get help for her son’s violent outbursts, rigid and inflexible behavior, incessant worrying, and poor social skills. His SPECT scan revealed a toxic appearance (lack of oxygen at birth) and increased anterior cingulate activity (which gives rise to inflexible, rigid behavior). His treatment included hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as a customized regimen of natural supplements. After several weeks, follow-up SPECT images showed improved brain activity, and Seth reported that he didn’t worry as much and was better able to shift his attention when he needed to.

It can’t be emphasized enough: Each patient is unique. Once an ASD patient’s specific brain activity patterns are revealed by a SPECT scan, Amen Clinics doctors will prescribe a treatment regimen that reduces hyperactive (“hot”) areas and increases those that are hypoactive (“cold”).

Get the help and support you need by calling us today at 1-888-208-2057 or tell us more to schedule an appointment.

1. From the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Autism Speaks®