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

Can you name a medical profession that prescribes medication or treatment without looking at the organ it treats? According to Daniel G. Amen, M.D., founder of Amen Clinics, Inc. psychiatry is the unfortunate answer, but he’s changing that.

Recently (June 2012), a new study titled “Specific Ways Brain SPECT Imaging Enhances Clinical Psychiatric Practice” was published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs – and it 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. To download a complete version of the published study, click here.

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,” said Dr. Amen, who is perhaps the world’s foremost experts on applying brain imaging science to clinical psychiatric practice having conducted more than 73,000 SPECT scans on patients from 90 countries in the last 20 years.

“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,” wrote Dr. Amen, who is a board certified child and adult psychiatrist, a Distinguished Fellow of American Psychiatric Association and best-selling author.

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.

Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs publishes quarterly and is considered an authoritative peer-reviewed periodical containing timely information of a multidisciplinary nature for clinicians and other professionals in the drug abuse field. The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs consistently addresses complex issues such as the disease concept of addiction, drugs and mental health, use and abuse of hallucinogens, ethnographic drug research, drug dependence and the family and more! Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ujpd20