Health, Monday Movie Series

How Brain Scans Can Help Healing

The other day, I had some free time and watched a very informative TED talk that educated me about the use of brain scans and imaging within the scope of practice of clinical psychiatrists.  Now, right off the bat, you might be wondering how this really relates to Child Life. I’m going to invite you to think about a wholistic approach in patient centered care. This short video also teaches us how to be better advocates in getting our patients the best care that is available to them.

With this in our minds, let’s chat about the TED talk itself. Doctor Daniel Amen, MD has a passion for medical imaging and psychiatry.  He especially became involved in brain SPECT imaging.  SPECT imaging tells us three things about the brain: good activity, too little, or too much.

On a more scientific level, SPECT imaging, or single-photon emission computed tomography, works by allowing doctors to see how blood flows to tissues and organs. Before a SPECT scan, a patient is injected with a chemical that is radiolabeled.  This means it emits gamma rays that can be detected during scanning/imaging.  About 30 minutes to an hour after the tracer is injected intravenously, the patient is brought to their exam room for the scan.

After attending a conference, Dr. Daniel Amen witnessed the need for an advocate for imaging within the field of clinical psychiatry.  After viewing numerous scans of patients with the same symptoms of the same diagnosed disorder, he found that their scans could be completely different from one another.  With this in mind, he became an advocate for using these scans in treating patients with mental health illnesses so that they might have an even better chance at living a more happy and full life.

How would you ever know what to do for them, unless you actually looked?

-Dr. Daniel Amen, MD

To check out the TED talk and watch it for yourself, click below:


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