View Full Version : Dr Daniel Amen on PBS


Leviathan99
06-29-14, 05:22 PM
Saw a special on PBS a few weeks ago with Dr Daniel Amen and he was pushing his books. Mainly a diet book and supplements. My immediate impression was that he is a snake oil salesman. He uses words like "heal the add brain" and what not. Has anyone here put any of his theories into practice? I'm curious because a few sites I went to on the web said the SPECT scans that he uses to look at add brains arent scientifically sound for use in looking for add landmarks. So is this guy valid? Or just a typical TV doctor out to sell books to people who feel stuck and will look for any form of help they can find?

Lunacie
06-29-14, 05:26 PM
I too think Dr. Amen is mostly a snake-oil salesman.

There has been some interesting research done with brain scans to look at the differences between ADHD brains and other brains, but it's nowhere near ready to be used for diagnosis or treatment.

Abi
06-29-14, 05:28 PM
Avoid Amen and doctor's who are his followers.

meadd823
06-29-14, 05:46 PM
As an ADDer I struggle with the three different ADD subtypes the medical system supports I am not really an adherent of adding more subtypes = Amen's theories never made sense to me so I pretty much blew it off -

That does not make him wrong per say but his theories are not embraced by main stream medical community {thus insurance companies} so they lack global diagnostic value clinically speaking.

Nicksgonefishin
06-29-14, 05:50 PM
I have to say that I agree with you! I don't trust him.

I get that feeling from Parker as well. He is selling vyvanse though. Atleast vyvanse works and his titration method works for some but he does go a bit overboard with typing of adhders in the same way that Amen does.

I don't care for labels beyond talking points. Subtyping only makes things worse. If somebody Identifies with one of the subtypes that Amen or Parker present they will think they have symptoms that they don't have and not even notice some symptoms that they do have.

People want nice neat boxes to put others in.

The fact is it is a specrum disorder and no 2 of us are the same.(end rant)

That being said he just seems slimey to me too.

MarkAfterDark
06-29-14, 09:43 PM
I don't care for labels beyond talking points. Subtyping only makes things worse. If somebody Identifies with one of the subtypes that Amen or Parker present they will think they have symptoms that they don't have and not even notice some symptoms that they do have.

People want nice neat boxes to put others in.

The fact is it is a specrum disorder and no 2 of us are the same.(end rant)

That being said he just seems slimey to me too.

Nick, I'm puzzled how 7 subtypes is worse than two? Amen does state that symptoms and categories often overlap, and his 7 subtypes are based on patterns observed in tens of thousands of SPECT scans.

I agree he's controversial and I'm not about to shell out roughly $3500 for a SPECT scan, but I did purchase his book and the suggestions he made for supplements has made a huge impact in my life.

MarkAfterDark
06-29-14, 10:00 PM
Saw a special on PBS a few weeks ago with Dr Daniel Amen and he was pushing his books. Mainly a diet book and supplements. My immediate impression was that he is a snake oil salesman. He uses words like "heal the add brain" and what not. Has anyone here put any of his theories into practice? I'm curious because a few sites I went to on the web said the SPECT scans that he uses to look at add brains arent scientifically sound for use in looking for add landmarks. So is this guy valid? Or just a typical TV doctor out to sell books to people who feel stuck and will look for any form of help they can find?

I, too, saw Amen on a PBS special. I ignored it for a few times but at some point, I didn't have the energy to change channels. I watched him list out five symptoms of ADD and damn if I didn't nail all five (he states "three or more,") and they very much affect my everyday life. Plus the part about the cabinet doors never getting shut.

I've since see other medical web sites that list nine inattentive ADD symptoms (again, I nailed them all.)

So he's got a different approach and not everyone agrees with his methods, but as I've mentioned in other posts, I was diagnosed with an Oedipus complex by one shrink and with a variant of dyslexia by another. Neither one has made my life any better - Amen has.

Nicksgonefishin
06-30-14, 01:51 AM
@mark

You're right 2 vs 7 is no different. It is all about perception. It's also the vocabulary words- primarily and spectrum seem to be often misunderstood. Weary of boxes and labels i dont care for . I don't care for the briggs Meyers boxes for the same reasons.

I'm glad you are able to identify yourself and realize symptoms overlap but my biggest point is that limiting the subtypes to any number does a huge disservice to the spectum. In a color spectrum the number of colors is infinite. This is true for adhd as well.

Many others overlook the fact that symptoms overlap and become sheeple... This makes me feel sad as they box themselves and hinder there own growth and potential. .


Also subtyping doesn't allow for the ever changing adhd self.

CanineRogue
06-30-14, 09:41 AM
Also subtyping doesn't allow for the ever changing adhd self.

I think this is a huge thing, right here. I think it seems to make the whole process much more cold. You see the doctor, he says you're this particular type, so these are your problems, this is your treatment... With mental disorders it's really vital for a psychiatrist/psychologist to understand the PERSON and the subtleties that each person brings. If my doctor tried to squeeze me into a box, I think I'd try to find a new doctor.

I think this is a big problem across the board with mental health. I think making things more clinical like that helps people to disassociate from the fact that therapy could really help. But why would you want to go through therapy if it feels like you aren't being listened to, or that the person your talking to is just looking for another symptom just for another course of treatment? It just doesn't seem helpful to break it down like that.

someothertime
06-30-14, 11:45 AM
I've read a book from him. I actually liked it alot.

The things I liked most were his emphasis on diet...

In a sense... his absoluteness can help. Whether true or not... His style, while extremely black and white and unnecessarily "blame"/"ownership" orientated... can have merits in terms of instigating actions...

The thing is.... when you break down everything he's saying..... there is nothing groundbreaking. What is significant is his "voice"..... and an alignment with solutions over raw info... His method, rather than his message is what is most noteworthy. On his message... I find that his analysis borders on oversimplification. Whether he is deliberately highlighting the causes and effects that he does based on practical mediations i'm not quite sure... This dance is the one that deviates him from advocate to evangelist.

So... not exactly snake oil.... IMO.... shall we say..... a narrowly absolute pragmatic regurgitation? ;)

Amtram
07-05-14, 11:08 AM
He's a salesman, first and foremost.

daveddd
07-05-14, 11:46 AM
he also used to have 6 subtypes of depression in the 90s

the more popular dx back then

nothing ever came of those

daveddd
07-05-14, 12:01 PM
sorry 7 types

including "over focused depression"
http://books.google.com/books?id=ZYlBM6mCyAYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=dr+amen++depression+types&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GSG4U4qzIY2PyATnwoF4&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=dr%20amen%20%20depression%20types&f=false

sarahsweets
07-05-14, 01:23 PM
who cares about labels? If a doctor labels and you dont agree, tell the doctor to f**k off.

kilted_scotsman
07-05-14, 01:40 PM
Labels are just shorthand ways of communicating more complex concepts.

It's funny when professional people get into a "my labels are better than your labels" fight

All depends on whether the labels are USEFUL in describing what they're trying to describe.

when we're dealing with the human brain/mind.... every set of labels is going to have strengths and weaknesses.... add in professional ego's and it all gets a bit silly.

Amtram
07-05-14, 08:25 PM
Amen's labels, however, are of little to no use in prescribing medications, which is what he purports to do with them.

eclectic beagle
07-05-14, 11:38 PM
sorry 7 types

including "over focused depression"
http://books.google.com/books?id=ZYlBM6mCyAYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=dr+amen++depression+types&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GSG4U4qzIY2PyATnwoF4&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=dr%20amen%20%20depression%20types&f=false


Well, the label just sounds like me. I don't really buy into his stuff in general, though.

daveddd
07-06-14, 11:47 AM
Well, the label just sounds like me. I don't really buy into his stuff in general, though.



i have a very long list of labels that sound just like me

Amtram
07-06-14, 08:39 PM
Just like astrology!

bobabuoy
07-07-14, 07:10 PM
sorry 7 types

including "over focused depression"
http://books.google.com/books?id=ZYlBM6mCyAYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=dr+amen++depression+types&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GSG4U4qzIY2PyATnwoF4&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=dr%20amen%20%20depression%20types&f=false
:faint:
Wow. What are the odds 7 types for ADD and Depression/Anxiety. Lucky number 7 I guess.

I think I'm going to stop reading his book.

sarahsweets
07-08-14, 04:18 AM
Does Amen say you can only have 1 of those adhd labels? Like could you have over-focused and hyperactivity? (or whatever he calls it)

MADD As A Hatte
07-08-14, 06:35 AM
Ewwww, I do love a good bit of quackery! I haven't seen anything this amusing on the forum since last year's feral Gabor Mate thread!

For your delictation:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/dr-amens-love-affair-with-spect-scans/

http://www.quackwatch.org/06ResearchProjects/amen_response.html

bobabuoy
07-09-14, 11:01 PM
Does Amen say you can only have 1 of those adhd labels? Like could you have over-focused and hyperactivity? (or whatever he calls it)

You can have any combination of labels.

MarkAfterDark
07-17-14, 07:04 PM
Ewwww, I do love a good bit of quackery! I haven't seen anything this amusing on the forum since last year's feral Gabor Mate thread!

For your delictation:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/dr-amens-love-affair-with-spect-scans/

http://www.quackwatch.org/06ResearchProjects/amen_response.html

I have to say that I have read this first article previously and I made a few observations:

The author never states that SPECT scans are inaccurate or incorrect, only that there have not been any peer reviewed studies.

The author makes a statement about Amen taking an exhaustive background and information learned from a SPECT scan could have been determined by the patient history and attributed to the scan. Soooo, she's saying it's bad for a doctor to learn about a patient's history before making a diagnosis?!?!

The author is critical of Amen's use of natural supplements. I have to say, they are working pretty damn good for me.

There was a time when people who claimed that you could dramatically reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease by eating certain foods were considered quacks also, but now with mountains upon mountains of evidence and study after study showing fresh produce, nuts and seeds can, in fact, drastically reduce the risk of many types of diseases, the only question is why doesn't everybody know this?

Or let me ask that question another way: Everyone knows you can save 15% on your car insurance by joining with the little green lizard, why doesn't everyone know that women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by as much as 89% by eating 10 grams of mushrooms and drinking green tea every day?

http://www.anticancerbook.com/post/Green-tea-and-mushrooms_-89-less-breast-cancer.html

Lunacie
07-17-14, 07:16 PM
The author makes a statement about Amen taking an exhaustive background and information learned from a SPECT scan could have been determined by the patient history and attributed to the scan. Soooo, she's saying it's bad for a doctor to learn about a patient's history before making a diagnosis?!?!



If the background info and patient history is enough to diagnose ADHD,

do we really need to spend more money and blast our brains with radioactive rays?

I have to wonder why there haven't been any peer review studies done?

Perhaps for the reasons I mentioned above?

MarkAfterDark
07-17-14, 10:16 PM
If the background info and patient history is enough to diagnose ADHD,

do we really need to spend more money and blast our brains with radioactive rays?

If they knew I fell 10 feet into an orchestra pit and it hurts like hell, and more so when I looked down, did I really need multiple x-rays to determine that I had a broken back? They needed to determine what type of fracture and how severe.

Honestly, if my insurance would pick up the cost, I'd probably do it. Now, before you say it, I'll note that my insurance won't pick up the cost of SAM-e, or any of the other supplements that are so helpful for me either. Perhaps because there have been no peer-reviewed studies on them?


I have to wonder why there haven't been any peer review studies done?

Perhaps for the reasons I mentioned above?

Perhaps. Perhaps nobody wants to fund such a study. We're only guessing here and your guess is just as good as mine.

MarkAfterDark
07-17-14, 10:20 PM
Honestly, the shrinks I saw who left me the same as they found me are the true snake-oil salesmen. Amen is the only one who offered me a viable solution.

Drewbacca
07-20-14, 01:52 AM
Saw a special on PBS a few weeks ago with Dr Daniel Amen and he was pushing his books. Mainly a diet book and supplements. My immediate impression was that he is a snake oil salesman. He uses words like "heal the add brain" and what not. Has anyone here put any of his theories into practice? I'm curious because a few sites I went to on the web said the SPECT scans that he uses to look at add brains arent scientifically sound for use in looking for add landmarks. So is this guy valid? Or just a typical TV doctor out to sell books to people who feel stuck and will look for any form of help they can find?

My opinion and understanding is that the only time a supplement and/or diet makes a difference is when there is some underlying cause leading to a deficiency... short of having such a deficiency, I would say that the main reason to push such an approach would be to sell supplements and books.

Someone like Dr. Amen believes that he can find a result for one person, and wave a magic wand and cure 1000 more with the assumption that they have the same problem.

Imagine that your body is a piggy bank, and that piggy bank can hold 100 coins (representing the supplement of your choice). The piggy bank can take nickels, dimes, pennies, quarters, loons, euros, what have you, but there is only so much space for each type of coin. Once you are full, adding more doesn't help, the extra coins just fall to the ground (worse yet, they may get in the way of absorbing other coins/chemicals that you actually need!).

http://www.brookstone.com/webassets/product_images/700x700/584599p.jpg

Of course, if you are the 1 in 1,000,000,000 that has a deficiency, than someone like Dr. Amen is a godsend. But, before you arrive at the conclusion that "I'll take this supplement, just in case" understand that it's more complex than that. If you lack a given chemical inside your brain, most supplements can't address that because most chemicals can't cross the blood-brain barrier... there's a reason why people with PhD's in chemistry and biomechanics are required to modify the chemicals inside of a supplement so that it can get where it needs to be (again, assuming a deficiency in the first place).

Drewbacca
07-20-14, 02:01 AM
Honestly, the shrinks I saw who left me the same as they found me are the true snake-oil salesmen. Amen is the only one who offered me a viable solution.

I'm sorry that you've had negative experiences... prescribing psychotropic medication is often a shot in the dark. If it wasn't so difficult to help people suffering from anxiety, depression, inattention, etc. then there wouldn't be multimillion dollar markets for untested snake oil in the first place.

Both traditional and non traditional can cause a placebo effect. Established medicine is often treating the symptom rather than the underlying cause, so that doesn't make it any easier to determine what works for a given individual.

and if finding the right mix of drugs wasn't hard enough... first you have to find the right "shrink" to get to the bottom of your personal problem. Any psychiatrist worth his salt will treat every patient as a new and unique case (but sadly, I don't think this is a common occurrence within that community).

Still, the thing that psychiatrists have going for them is hard data and peer-review... it's not perfect, but it at least allows us to put a number to it. "Proven" requires more evidence than "it worked for me." If it didn't work for someone, there would be no snake oil.