How Brain Imaging Changes Everything — Or Not

SPECT imaging measures the brain's healthy activity. How is this helpful in diagnosing and treating ADHD? Here, Dr. Amen explains how he uses brain imaging to pinpoint ADHD challenges — and solutions.

Safety of SPECT Imaging

Some people reasonably express concern over the radiation involved with a SPECT study. SPECT is at nuclear medicine procedure that uses radio-isotopes to look a living brain activity. The radiation exposure is equivalent to one brain CT or one-third of an abdominal CT. It is considered a safe procedure by the American Academy of Neurology. I have had 11 scans over the years. Last year in the U.S., millions of nuclear medicine procedures were performed. I think the risk of a SPECT scan is significantly overshadowed by the reward. An ineffectively treated psychiatric problem is likely much more harmful than the small amount of radiation.
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