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Screening the brain to optimize health and longevity
Daniel Amen: Psychiatrist, author and founder, Amen Clinics
Dr. Daniel Amen is a polarizing figure. He is hugely popular, with a string of successful clinics, books and TV shows – but derided by some of his professional peers. The founder of mental and physical health centers, Amen Clinics, believes traditional psychiatry is missing an important component. Dr. Amen says many psychiatrists overlook an extremely important tool of thorough brain analysis. A double board-certified psychiatrist and clinical neuroscientist, he uses single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scans – which measure brain activity – to address issues like depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder. In this LLAMA podcast interview with Peter Bowes, Dr. Amen explains his idea of a brain-healthy lifestyle – and why it is key pillar in the quest for a long health span. He also answers critics who have suggested that his methods lack scientific validity.
Published on: 2 Jul 2018 @ 14:27 PT
NOTES AND QUOTES
“I’m in the war and I don’t really care if you like me. If you’re not looking at your patients’ brains what’s the matter with you?”
In this interview, we explore:
- How does Dr. Amen define brain health?
- Dr. Amen responds to critics who question the validity of SPECT brain scans for psychiatric and general health diagnoses.
“Most psychiatrists never look at the organ they treat. But when we first started looking in 1991 it just changed everything that I did.”
- The importance of looking at all aspect’s of your life, including your social circle and your spiritual beliefs, to understand why you’re suffering.
- Dr. Amen describes his recipe for optimum cognitive function based on a strong and increased blood flow to your brain, and which behaviors, he says, constrict blood flow to the brain.
- Why having a purpose or something you care deeply about in your life is imperative for a long, healthy life.
“Purposeful people not only live longer, they’re happier, and when they get sick they get better faster.”
- Depression in today’s youth. Dr. Amen believes unsociable activities correlate with new behaviors of the past two decades.
- Dr. Amen’s personal diet and lifestyle habits that focus on a long and healthy life.
- The main building blocks for a long and healthy life and why Dr. Amen believes they are important.
“I generally consider the key components to help us live a long healthy life being diet, exercise and then the spiritual side.”
- Why Dr. Amen is motivated by a diet of health foods that some might consider restrictive.
“I actually think eating the bad food would be depriving myself of what I really want, which is energy and longevity, and being able to be on my mission for as long as possible.”
- What is Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) imaging? Brain SPECT Imaging in Complex Psychiatric Cases: An Evidence-Based, Underutilized Tool – co-athored paper by Dr. Amen.
- Mayo Clinic: SPECT scan overview, uses and risks
- In 2013 Peter Bowes got a SPECT imaging scan at Dr. Amen’s clinic in Newport Beach, California. Read about the results here.