Throwing Darts in the Dark: Can Brain Scans Improve Treatment and Rehabilitation Outcomes?


Source: Libertas Academica

Source: Libertas Academica

Daniel Amen, MD refers to psychiatry without the use of diagnostic imaging as “throwing darts in the dark”. Over the last 22 years Dr. Amen and his colleagues have completed 83,000 SPECT scans of individuals with neurological and psychiatric problems. Dr. Amen’s work is to make a diagnosis based on the level of activity in regions of the brain and help design treatment which is focused on remediation of that problem. In his work, Dr. Amen has examined individuals with a wide range of neurological problems. In a TEDx talk, Dr. Amen referred to the problems of failing to make an identification of brain dysfunction and the inappropriate diagnosis and treatment, or lack of treatment, when can result. He gave examples of the problems in mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) revealed in SPECT scans and speculated about the level of undetected injuries in our soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He clearly believes that undiagnosed brain injury is the cause of mental illness for many individuals as well as the reason for their displacement in society. His work confirmed the brain injuries in NFL players long before the League’s professionals recognized the problem.

His TEDx talk is provides a compelling reason to use brain scan technology and through his clinical case examples offers evidence which supports the technology. To see Dr. Amen’s TEDx talk:!


Tag lines: Daniel Amen, SPECT scans, brain injury diagnosis, mTBI and brain dysfunction, brain injury diagnosis

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.
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