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    Posted May 20, 2008 by
    Deerfield, Illinois
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Surviving a brain tumor

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    Daniel G. Amen, MD is a brilliant "brain doctor" who treats tumors and many other issues, using new SPECT SCAN IMAGERY to diagnose difficult brain problems. The third photo here is a tumor he found. Daniel Amen's Credentials... Dr. Daniel Amen is a Board Certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist Helped pioneer the use of brain SPECT imaging in psychiatry Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior UC, Irvine, School of Medicine Trained at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association Award Winning Researcher, Writer and Teacher Experience... 25 years of clinical experience CEO and Medical Director, Amen Clinics, Inc. (4 clinics -- Newport Beach and Fairfield, CA, Tacoma, WA and Reston, VA) Amen Clinics have world's largest database of brain scans (>40,000) and have seen patients from all 50 states and 62 countries. Experts in the use of both medication and natural supplements to optimize brain function. Substance and Passion... +Daniel Amen +is the author of over 30 professional papers, and 22 books, including the NY Times bestseller, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Healing ADD, Healing Anxiety and Depression, Preventing Alzheimer's, Making A Good Brain Great, Sex on the Brain and Wired for Success (2009) Dr. Daniel Amen's high school course, Making A Good Brain Great, on "practical brain science health education" is now in 34 states and 7 countries. Continual Outreach... PBS Special: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life Daniel Amen has appeared The Today Show, The View, The Early Show, Fox News, CNN, CNN International, Behind the Mind, CNN Headline News, 48 Hours, HBO, America Undercover, Small Town Ecstasy, Discovery Channel News: Inside the Mind of a Killer, MSNBC, Emmy Winning Show "The Truth About Drinking" His work featured in Newsweek, Parade, USA Today, NY Times, NY Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Allure, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek Japan, MIT Technology, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping Speaker for National Security Agency, National Science Foundation, Harvard's Learning and the Brain Conference, Supreme Courts of Ohio, Delaware and Wyoming, among many others Some of Dr. Daniel Amen's most requested presentations include: *Change Your Brain, Change Your Life * *Healing the Hardware of the Soul* *Making A Good Brain Great+ + +Sex On The Brain + +Wired for Success + +Healing ADD*+ Amen Clinics Brain SPECT Image Brain Place Atlas http://amenclinics.com/bp/ Brain Imaging Gallery http://amenclinics.com/bp/spect_rotations/ Brain Research Tables http://amenclinics.com/bp/research/tables.php Brain In The News Archives, Brain Discoveries NY TIMES MAGAZINE HIGHLIGHTS DR. AMEN'S WORK -- March 01, 2005 -- by Daniel G. Amen M.D. The brain is everywhere there is news about people. This past Sunday I was honored when the New York Times Magazine wrote about my imaging work and amazed to see how much interest was generated in my work. You can see the article at : http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/20/magazine/20IDEA.html. Looking at the brain is a powerful tool to help psychiatry come out of the dark ages by better understanding the underlying brain dysfunction of our patients. I was frustrated, however, by the misrepresentation of our work and my credentials. The article failed to mention any of my credentials...such as being on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, receiving research awards and the prestigious Distinguish Fellow Award of the American Psychiatric Association. They also reported that I haven't published my methods or studies when I have 20 peer reviewed articles in print along with 8 books on the subject, filled with our methods and hundreds of case studies. More importantly, we have seen more brain scans than anyone in the world. The reason our clinics continue to grow is that they help many people who did not get help elsewhere. Scans by themselves are never the answer, they are an important part of the answer, that when used with clinical information gives doctors a more complete picture to help people who suffer. In letters to the Editor, our research director Dr. Chris Hanks and Chief Psychiatrist in the Tacoma, Washington office Dr. John Holttum offered some very direct comments on the article. From Chris Hanks, PhD "I have a couple of comments in response to Paul Raeburn's "Therapeutic Mind Scan" as pertains to Dr. Daniel Amen's work. First, Raeburn quotes Dr. Sam Goldstein, who says Dr. Amen claims to be able to find any illness using a brain scan. This is a gross misrepresentation of how Dr. Amen uses scans. Amen takes the behavioral presentation he sees clinically and combines it with a functional brain image. Because certain neurotransmitters are more or less prevalent in different parts of the brain, and because neurochemical activity is highly correlated with blood flow, Amen is able to use the scan to choose more appropriate treatments and medications than traditional medicine allows for. The result: people get better faster. Having attended a dozen-or-so of his public lectures, and having heard him discuss his work with hundreds of other doctors and psychiatrists, I can tell you that he repeats (often to the point of exasperation) that a brain scan is not a diagnosis. Second, Raeburn quotes Psychologist Stephen Hinshaw, who says Dr. Amen is exploiting desperate families. It's true that most of the patients Dr. Amen sees are desperate, but this is simply because traditional psychiatry has been unable to help them (and in many cases has made them significantly worse). Unlike most all other psychiatrists, Dr. Amen looks at the organ that's affecting their behavior (imagine a cardiologist who didn't look at your heart!), finding - in addition to neurochemical imbalances - tumors (as in the case of an Amen Clinic employee's mother), cysts (as in the case of his own nephew), lesions, brain damage, strokes, and myriad other pathologies. Dr. Amen is not exploiting anyone with his practice, nor has he ever. Having worked for Daniel Amen over the last two years, I can attest to his personal commitment. He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on research, analyzing everything from how he reads scans to how patient histories are taken to how effective his treatments are. He cares deeply about his patients, often making great personal sacrifices in order to help them. Finally, Hinshaw is of the opinion that Dr. Amen is selling snake oil. If snake oil were high in Omega-3 fatty acids, I'm sure Dr. Amen would at least recommend it. Instead, however, he has his patients take fish oil. From John Holttum, MD Dear Editor: I would like to comment on "The Therapeutic Brain Scan" by Paul Raeburn, which appeared on Feb 20, 2005. I appreciate your coverage of this controversial topic, but was disappointed in the lack of detail regarding Dr. Amen's position. I am currently one of the chief psychiatrists for Amen Clinics, but I was a university-based researcher early in my career. As such, I have had a chance to view this argument from both sides of the fence. Dr. Goldstein's comments were particularly distressing. For someone who claims to have known Dr. Amen for a decade, he appears to have missed the point entirely. While Dr. Amen has claimed that SPECT scans contain a wealth of information about brain function, he has never claimed to be able to diagnose everything. In fact, he has repeatedly stated that SPECT scans should never be used by themselves to make a psychiatric diagnosis. The following facts about our work would have been valuable to the debate, and to your readers: Dr. Amen's position has been that SPECT scans should be considered when standard clinical approaches have failed. Imaging is not necessary for most routine psychiatric disorders. Even among patients referred to me specifically for a SPECT scan, many are told that imaging would be unnecessary. SPECT findings are never a substitute for clinical evaluation. Some findings are very tightly correlated to symptoms, prognosis, or response to specific treatments. Some findings are only loosely correlated. Either way, this information adds depth to the clinical evaluation and often improves the accuracy of the treatment plan, but without a clinical evaluation it would be pointless. The information derived from SPECT images is based on independent research, not just on Dr. Amen's experience. We have over 1400 citations on our web site supporting the work, and that is only a partial list. It is unfortunate that most of the research on the clinical applications of brain imaging is done outside of psychiatry. Dr. Amen has published many of his findings and continues to do so. He has also presented data at the American Psychiatric Association annual meetings for the past 5 years. Of note, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has rejected our applications for their annual meeting for five years in a row. I am not certain that academic psychiatrists understand the current state of clinical practice. In real life, it is not uncommon for patients to receive three or four conflicting opinions regarding their diagnosis, all from reputable and competent psychiatrists. It is not uncommon for patients to have failed (or been made worse by) five or six medication trials, each of which was perfectly reasonable based on symptoms. Given our current state, it is difficult to imagine how more information about our patients could be "harmful to families". Brain imaging makes psychiatric problems more real and less stigmatizing to patients, thereby improving education and compliance. For many patients, asking them to take potentially harmful medication based on checklists and opinions is asking too much. Brain imaging is currently the only way to document mild cortical damage from substance abuse. It is the only visible proof available to address the denial inherent in addiction. In other branches of medicine, imaging tools evolved in the hands of clinicians. In fact, in the science of imaging it is only after extensive clinical observation that rational theories can be formed and tested by researchers. To date, the only clinical application that has been tested by academic psychiatrists is whether SPECT scans can make accurate DSM-IV diagnoses. Ironically, no one ever claimed that SPECT scans would validate DSM-IV. Quite the opposite. I am repeatedly asked why we haven't done "a controlled trial" of SPECT imaging, as if it were a new drug. Brain imaging is a tool, not a treatment. We currently draw reliable data from 60 distinct brain regions, about which we have made dozens of clinical observations based on 25,000 images. The physicians who refer patients to us find those observations quite valuable. Therefore, a more pertinent question is this: why haven't psychiatric researchers tested our hypotheses? Dr. Amen has certainly made his observations public enough. On a lighter note, Our new radio show, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, is receiving a more and more enthusiastic response. Once again, I answered questions again from all over the country. Tune in Saturdays at 8 - 9 AM (PST) on 1170 KCBQ in San Diego or 1300 KKOL in Seattle or on the web at http://www.kcbq.com/weekends.asp or send me questions at . "Brain In The News" is offered as a free service to educate people on how the brain relates to our behavior. You can see over 300 color 3D brain SPECT images at http://www.brainplace.com/. You can subscribe for free at http://www.amenclinic.com/. Daniel Daniel G. Amen, MD Amen Clinics, Inc.
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