Please see links below:
Review Dr. Watson's "The 4 False Pillars of the Medical Model: Chemical Imbalances, Brain Scans, Genetics, Twin/Adoptino Sudies. The Slide Show lecture can be viewed here:
Below is being updated:
Regarding Dr. Amen. Read here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/daniel-amen-is-the-most-popular-psychiatrist-in-america-to-most-researchers-and-scientists-thats-a-very-bad-thing/2012/08/07/467ed52c-c540-11e1-8c16-5080b717c13e_story.html?utm_term=.9e9682ad27a7
from a friend of mine: Dr. Ruby...
First off, the SPECT merely measures cerebral blood flow and then a computer constructs a 3D image of where the blood is in the brain. By the way, the fMRI does the same thing but in 2D form. So, obviously, it will detect areas of the brain where there is no blood flow (e.g., stroke areas, surgically removed areas, tumors, damaged areas). That’s why the Alzheimer’s and tumor scans show big missing areas. It will identify the areas of the brain where blood flow is greatest.
Well, our brains’ blood flow is greatest in the areas that are more active. If you do a SPECT of my brain when I’m watching a football game, my visual cortex is going to be larger. Similarly, if you do a SPECT of a person’s brain while they are singing, the area of the brain involved in singing will be greater. This also holds true if you SPECT someone who has a chronic history of being obsessive (among other typical mental disorder diagnostic categories that, by the way, are very invalid and unreliable, but more on that later), you’ll find the areas of the brain that are involved in obsessive thought larger than the rest. A chronically inattentive person (i.e., “ADHD”) will have a brain SPECT showing the areas involved in attention being smaller than the rest. This merely shows that when one uses certain parts of the brain, the blood flow to those parts is higher and the structures may be larger too. This is because the brain is “plastic”, not static. It changes with use. So, all the SPECT does is show what areas of the brain are more active than others and what areas are dead or missing. Such higher or lower activity is not necessarily indicative of disease. Amen says SPECT shows “good activity, too little, and too much”. Not true. The “good”, “too little”, and “too much” are value judgements that cannot be justified with the evidence of the SPECT (except for the missing activity). There is no way to determine these, just like there is no way to determine a “chemical imbalance” or balance of chemistry in the brain. SPECT is a great diagnostic aid to Alzheimer’s, tumors, cancers, etc. (the real illnesses), but it is useless when dealing with “mental disorders” (the fake illnesses).
He says when the SPECTs of two people with depression are different, it means he’s discovered subtypes of depression. Not true. When two different people who are labeled depressed have different SPECT scans, that is evidence that the SPECT cannot be used to diagnose depression. It also means that the SPECT cannot distinguish
between a depressed and non-depressed person. This difference in SPECT (or any other type of brain scan) among people who have the same mental disorder label is typical regardless of what label they have been given. It doesn’t demonstrate different diagnostic categories, it demonstrates human variation.
Another problem with the SPECT is it has a lot of false positives and false negative errors. The SPECT procedure has to be adjusted to obtain an optimal sensitivity to blood flow. The higher the sensitivity, the higher the false positives. The lower the sensitivity, the higher the false negatives. It’s not 100% precise. The figures I’ve seen are that is accurate somewhere between 80-90% of the time in detecting the actual level of blood flow. As an extreme example, a researcher once fMRI’d a dead fish to demonstrate the false positive issue. The fish’s scan showed brain activity blood flow.
He claims that TBI (traumatic brain injury) is a “major cause” of mental disorder. Not true. When someone suffers from a TBI, their mental faculties can be out of whack because of the real illness and damage to the brain. I had a mother call me looking for help with her daughter who has been diagnosed with a gene anomaly that affects cognitive development and behavior. She was frustrated because many physicians who saw her daughter kept referring her to a psychiatrist because, they said, this gene anomaly can cause mental disorder. This is a play on words. In truth, the gene anomaly causes symptoms of the gene anomaly - it is a real illness. the symptoms of TBI are the symptoms of TBI, not mental disorder. Saying it causes mental disorder is like saying hitting your head with a hammer causes a mental disorder. In such a situation, there will definitely be symptoms to include irritability, swearing, and despair over having just hit yourself in the head with a hammer. But those aren’t symptoms of mental disorder. This kind of bait and switch thinking is prevalent in the psychiatric field. It includes things like saying mental disorder is caused by nutritional deficits, toxic exposure, vaccines, tumors, and hormonal deficiencies. Actually these things cause real illnesses, not the fake mental ones. Symptoms caused by real bodily pathology are symptoms of real illnesses.
Amen says psychiatry is no further along in technology than Abe Lincoln’s days of looking at “symptom clusters”. He’s correct. But this is not because of technology. It is because psychiatry is based on “illnesses” of the mind, not the brain. Neurology is the science of real illnesses of the brain. Psychiatry is an absurdity: proposing that something abstract (the mind) can be diseased (a process that is limited to the physical realm). It has been said that psychiatry is to neurology as astrology is to astronomy. The diagnoses of psychiatry are based solely on checklists of problems, and many times they are problems as seen by the psychiatrist and others, not the person being diagnosed. There is no test to confirm any mental disorder diagnosis. This is different from real medicine: signs and symptoms are assessed by the physician; the physician makes a hypothesis about the possible illness, then a laboratory test is conducted in order to confirm the hypothesized diagnosis. In psychiatry, there is no third step because there is nothing to test. There is categorically no evidence that mental disorders are caused by, or in and of themselves, real illnesses of the brain. In essence they are names given to very common and understandable human struggles, dilemmas, and challenges.
He also says the the SPECT is helpful in determining who would benefit from psychiatric drugs, intimating the SPECT can determine who is really ill and those who are the “wrong people” to give them to. Once again, not true. Using psychiatric drugs on anyone can precipitate a disaster. These drugs do not correct chemical imbalances or any other defect because there is no defect to correct. Actually, with the publication of the new diagnostic manual in 2013, even the luminaries of the field have come out not only with the invalidity and unreliability of the manual, but also the falsity of the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness. For instance, Allen Frances was the committee chair for the development of the past edition of the manual. He proclaimed the psychiatric diagnoses in the manual are “fake”. Further, Ronald Pies, the editor emeritus of the Psychiatric Times, said the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness is an urban legend and that no one really took it seriously. Both these pronouncements are shocking since both the manual and the flawed theory of chemical imbalances have been, and continue to be, the mainstays of psychiatry. It was quite disingenuous for Pies to say no one took the chemical imbalance theory seriously. Most physicians, including psychiatrists, continue to peddle that nonsense when handing out psychiatric drugs by the billions of dollars.
Probably the most troubling and dangerous statement he made in the TED talk is that the SPECT can and should be used to identify the “troubled brains” of people who commit criminal acts. Apparently this is to then “treat” those people so they don’t commit criminal acts anymore. This is absurd! Criminality is not a symptom of real disease. It is not caused by anything anymore than legal behavior is caused by something. These are personal conduct issues and legal issues. It would be like deciding that politically liberal acts are caused by the mental disorder called “liberalism”. Then the people who “have” this get SPECT’d in order to see the areas of the brain that need repaired. Then “treated” to rid them of their liberalism disorder. Actually, some brain scan research has suggested that the brains of liberal and conservative people differ to some degree. This approach, besides being very Orwellian has actually been done in the old Soviet Union. Anti-communist ideology was considered a symptom of mental disorder and those so afflicted were sent off to “hospitals” to live out their lives in misery, ostensibly as a form of treatment, but practically speaking to remove the threat to the Soviet regime."
2. The overwhelming majority of ADHD brain imaging research over the past 25 years has been comparing "medicated" ADHD children to non medicated controls. When researcher Castellanos published a study to answer all the critic complaints that you are comparing drugged kids brains to non drugged brains, in his study, he compared ADHD to controls and said that the ADHD kids have smaller brains, but that the NIMH study had an ADHD group unmedicated (and medicated). They found medicated kids had bigger heads, and they announced: stimulant drugs (Ritalin) did not lead to brain shrinkage and Dr. Castellanos even said Ritalin might lead to bigger brains (which is the opposite of what researchers were saying about the stimulant drugs...causing atrophy/shrinkage of kids brains). There were several problems with the study though. 1. Castellanos provided no information about what type of drugs the kids were given, for how long they had taken them, dosing, combinations, etc...
Sowell et al published a study in Lancet saying ADHD kids have smaller brains. Like Castellanos, about half the ADHD kids in her group were medicated, the other half were unmedicated. She said that "at the time of scanning" half the kids were medicated. So the other half might have been medicated for awhile and then stopped for a week before the scan which in the ADHD imaging world counts as "Unmedicated." Since she left his out, she was emailed. In her paper she said that they did not compare the unmedicated to medicated because the medication histories of the children were not comparable. She also cited Castellanos as showing that there was no difference between unmedicated and medicated. So when asked if she actually did this comparison, but from then on she never responded to emails from the researcher. The problem seems obvious: I imagine that she did the comparison and found that the medicated kids had smaller brains than the unmedicated, and at that point decided that the medication histories were a confounding variable. I am fairly confident that if she had found no difference between medicated and unmedicated that NIMH could not have written a press release fast enough. Both studies were funded by NIMH. In the Castellanos study the medication histories of the patients were of no concern at all, while in the Sowell study they were a concern. Sowell and other researchers had not been concerned with prior medication as a confounding variable in their comparisons of ADHD to controls, but now they realize it is a problem.