Originally posted on April 7th. Bumped to the top of the blog since I'll be on the Frankie Boyer radio show in Boston, Friday April 20 at 11:30am EST. I'll be talking with Frankie about these SPECTs of my brain.
FifthInstallment: Pictures of My Brain
(Click on the picture to zoom.)
What exactly are you looking at? It is NOT a physical representation of my brain. Rather it is a picture of the blood flow and activity of the brain. A description from Amen Clinic's website says SPECT scanning "looks directly at cerebral blood flow and indirectly at brain activity (or metabolism). In this study, a radioactive isotope (which, as we will see, is akin to a myriad of beacons of energy or light) is bound to a substance that is readily taken up by the cells in the brain.
A small amount of this compound is injected into the patient's vein where it runs throughout the blood stream and is taken up by certain receptor sites in the brain. The patient then lies on a table for 14-16 minutes while a SPECT "gamma" camera rotates slowly around his head. The camera has special crystals that detect where the compound (signaled by the radioisotope acting like a beacon of light) has gone. A supercomputer then reconstructs 3-D images of brain activity levels. The elegant brain snapshots that result offer a sophisticated blood flow/ metabolism brain map. With these maps, physicians have been able to identify certain patterns of brain activity that correlate with psychiatric and neurological illnesses."
The scans show damage particularly to the temporal lobes and the pre-frontal cortex. Also the "scalloping" is either "environmental toxin exposure" or simply "more brain trauma". It is possible that it shows my exposure to mercury but that is not certain.
It interested me that the day before I went to the Amen Clinic, I saw a Scottsdale psychiatrist who was a big fan of Amen Clinics. After listening to my history he said it sounded a lot like "bi-polar" because of the cyclical nature of my history. I saw this doc again the day after getting my diagnosis from the Amen Clinic. Without comment I gave him my brain scans. He looked at them for about 7 seconds. He then looked up at me and asked, "When did you have brain trauma?" It amazed me that it was so clear to him just like the doc at Amen. He was surprised since he had pretty well decided that I likely had bi-polar.
Had I not gone to the Clinic he would have begun treatment for "bi-polar". This is the value of SPECT brain scans. It is very specific and doctors don't have to GUESS!! The pattern I had was not even close to bi-polar. Bi-polar shows lots of unusual activity in the brain. I had just the opposite. My brain showed lower activity due to the damage. The damage to the temporal lobes was the cause of the cycling that had experienced.
I have been thrilled with the results I have had in response to my new regimen of supplements and Rx meds which I have covered at length in the last two installments.