Scan your Brain and Find its Secrets

Several years ago a member of my family was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Having long suspected I had attention deficit myself, I was pleased that this person would not have to deal with the negative effects of this so-called “ailment” (lots of debate about ADD/ADHD people not “suffering from an ailment” but rather are “hunters in a farmer world” but this is a post unto itself).

All the usual treatments for him were ineffective (homeopathy, exercise, Ritalin, etc.). Then my wife read a life changing book “Healing ADD” by Dr. Daniel Amen. He’d combined clinical diagnosis of ADD/ADHD with Brain SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) imaging. If you click on the image above, it’ll load a bigger size and you can see what this process sees: holes in an ADD/ADHD brain caused by lack of blood flow which is alleviated dramatically with stimulant medications like Ritalin, enhancing concentration and mitigating impulsive behaviors.

Lack of blood flow in the pre-frontal cortex is one of the prime inhibitors in executive function in the brain (which is the “boss” of behavior, focus and judgement) and thus is the fundamental underpinning of the condition known as ADD/ADHD. The result left untreated? Impulsive and risk behaviors, inattention, disorganization and other aspects that the mainstream finds dysfunctional.

We were so stunned with the possibilities of this combination and the possible insight it would provide that we ended up at the Amen Clinic months later for diagnosis and brain scanning.

Without publically disclosing all the stuff that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is designed to protect, let me state that this *was* life changing since we discovered that this family member was being treated incorrectly. Their subtype of ADHD (called “ring of fire”) required a different treatment and the previous Ritalin use was like tossing gasoline on a fire (and this person is doing very, very well now).

Intriguingly, this approach (clinical diagnosis and Brain SPECT scanning) is being used for many kinds of disorders including Alzheimer’s, brain injury, chemical dependency and more.

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2 Comments

  1. Steve Borsch on November 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Hi Maribeth,

    We went to the Amen Clinic in Sacramento, CA (one of six, I believe). After publishing this post, in fact, I received an email from the ADD/ADHD thought leader, Dr. Charles Parker, since he had started an Amen Clinic in Virginia Beach, VA and had a Google alert set for “brain SPECT”. (One of his websites is here).

    He and I went back-n-forth by email for awhile, I helped him with his blog and podcast, and he ended up offering to be the “virtual” doc for my son in coordination with the clinic here in Minnesota. It was awesome to have this accomplished and focused Doc helping us navigate as we pursued existing and new options for ADHD.

    Doc Parker was the one who recommended using the group in Chicago to do the genetic testing and I’m sorry I cannot recall the name of the firm there since it was so long ago. But it’s now been several years since my son got off gluten and casein (though he makes exceptions now that he’s over 18!) and my wife and I also mostly stay off gluten and dairy too. It continues to be life-changing for him (and for us) and Doc Parker also recommended a new medication, Vyvanse, which is expensive but the best one out there and it’s really helped for several years.

    This one here isn’t the test we took but we paid about $400 for ours and this one is $385. However, before doing it I’d suggest contacting Dr. Parker’s CorePsych practice office (website and email) since they could guide you better than I ever could.

    Was the money expended on the scans worth it? Absolutely. We never would have embarked on a multi-year quest for my son if we hadn’t started with this confirming set of scans. Yes, we did the initial ADD/ADHD testing but without the scans we had only half the information. Our son successfully made his way through school, is in college now, and thriving.



  2. Maribeth on November 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you for getting back so quickly!



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Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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