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Daniel Amen

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Nationality  American
Role  Psychiatrist
Name  Daniel Amen

Known for  Amen's Classification
Spouse  Tana Amen (m. 2008)
Daniel Amen wwwlifeextensioncommagazinegraphicsDrDaniel

Full Name  Daniel Gregory Amen
Born  1954 (age 60–61)Encino, Los Angeles
Alma mater  Vanguard University of Southern CaliforniaOral Roberts University School of Medicine (M.D., 1982), Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Tripler Army Medical Center.
Occupation  Psychiatrist, psychiatric researcher, medical researcher, author, lecturer, professor
Education  Vanguard University, Oral Roberts University
Books  Change Your Brain - Change, Healing ADD, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a, Change Your Brain - Change, Magnificent mind at any age
Similar People  Mark Hyman, Rick Warren, Tana Amen, David Perlmutter, Mehmet Oz

The amen clinics method explained by founder dr daniel amen extended

Daniel Gregory Amen (born 1954) is an American psychiatrist, a brain disorder specialist, director of the Amen Clinics, and a ten-times New York Times bestselling author.


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Amen's clinics specialize in the use of brain imaging equipment (single photon emission computed tomography SPECT) in diagnosing psychiatric disorders. However, Amen's methodology has been criticized by psychiatrists and neuroscientists on ethical and safety grounds.

Daniel Amen Dr Daniel Amen Amen Clinics

Amen has studied brain injuries affecting professional athletes, and he is a post-concussion consultant for the National Football League.

Daniel Amen Dr Daniel Amen Amen Clinics

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Early life and education

Daniel Amen The most important lesson from 83000 brain scans Daniel Amen

Daniel Amen was born in Encino, California, in 1954 to Lebanese immigrant parents.

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He received his undergraduate biology degree from Southern California College in 1978 and his medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine in 1982. Amen did his general psychiatric training at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and his child and adolescent psychiatry training at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. Amen fulfilled 200 hours of training to obtain his radioactive materials license from the Institute of Nuclear Medicine Education. He then carried out the required 1,000 hours of clinical supervision in reading scans. Amen is double board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Career in business

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Amen is the chief executive officer and medical director of the six Amen Clinics.

SPECT scanning

Amen's practices use single-photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, scans of brain activity in an attempt to compare the activity of a person's brain to a known healthy model. Amen prescribes both medication and non-medicative courses of treatment, depending on the case. He also performs before-and-after SPECT scans, which claim to assess how well treatment is working. Amen's clinics claim to have the world's largest database of functional brain scans for neuropsychiatry. As of 2009, Amen said he had scanned 50,000 people at an estimated cost of $170 million.

John Seibyl of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has stated that there is no debate that SPECT is not valuable for diagnosing psychological disorders. A 2012 review by the American Psychiatric Association found that neuroimaging studies "have yet to impact significantly the diagnosis or treatment of individual patients." The review also states that neuroimaging studies "do not provide sufficient specificity and sensitivity to accurately classify individual cases with respect to the presence of a psychiatric illness." The American Psychiatric Association has concluded that, "the available evidence does not support the use brain imaging for clinical diagnosis or treatment of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents." According to cognitive neuroscience researcher Martha Farah and psychologist S. J. Gillihan, "The lack of empirical validation has led to widespread condemnation of diagnostic SPECT as premature and unproven."

Ethics of SPECT scanning

Questions have been raised about the ethics of selling SPECT scans on the basis of unproven claims: neuroscience professor Martha Farah calls such use "profitable but unproven" and says "Tens of thousands of individuals, many of them children, have been exposed to the radiation of two SPECT scans and paid thousands of dollars out of pocket (because insurers will not pay) against the advice of many experts". Professor of psychology Irving Kirsch has said of Amen's theory: "Before you start promulgating this and marketing it and profiting from it, you should ethically be bound to demonstrate it scientifically in a peer-reviewed, respected journal" as otherwise "you're just going down the path of being a snake oil salesman". In a 2011 paper the neuroscientist Anjan Chatterjee discussed example cases that were found on the Amen Clinic's website including a couple with marital difficulties and a child with impulsive aggression. The paper noted that the examples "violate the standard of care" because a normal clinical diagnosis would have been sufficient and that there "was no reason to obtain functional neuroimaging for diagnostic purposes in these cases." Most patients do not realise that the SPECT scans rely on unproven claims.

An initial session at one of Amen's clinics costs about $3,500. As reported by the Washington Post in 2012, officials at major psychiatric and neuroscience associations and research centers see Amen's claims for the use of SPECT as "no more than myth and poppycock, buffaloing an unsuspecting public."

Work for athletes

One of Amen's clinics provides brain scans for current and former National Football League players. Amen made the initial diagnosis of brain damage in NFL kicker Tom Dempsey. During medical examinations and scans, Amen found three holes in Dempsey's brain, along with other damage. He has also provided diagnosis and therapy for hockey player Paul Kariya, related to his concussion issues; Amen advised Kariya to retire as a professional, which he did.

Dietary supplements

Amen's websites market vitamin supplements and a branded range of other dietary supplements. These supplements have been promoted for a number of health benefits, including a claimed ability to prevent or stop Alzheimer's disease—there is however no known benefit from taking such supplements except for specific substance deficiencies. Neurologist Robert Burton has written that he was "just appalled" by the things offered for sale on Amen's "big business" web sites, and Harriet Hall has said that Amen prescribes "inadequately tested natural remedies" and "irrational mixtures of nutritional diet supplements" as part of his treatment.


Amen's first book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, was published in 1999 and unexpectedly reached the New York Times best seller list after selling tens of thousands of copies in the first year. Publishers Weekly noted that the book "apparently struck a nerve with readers who love a 'scientific' hook."

In his book Making a Good Brain Great, he provided his analysis and recommendations for brain improvement purported to enhance a person's overall happiness and ability. For example, he suggested that hobbies which challenge the brain are important to ensuring a happy life, as he believes they force the brain to learn and evolve over time. Davi Thornton characterized the book as consisting of "commonplace recommendations for self-improvement."

Healing the Hardware of the Soul, written by Amen in 2008, was reviewed in the American Journal of Psychiatry by Andrew Leuchter. "Dr. Amen makes a good case for the use of brain imaging to explain and medicalize mental disorders," Leuchter said. "However, the reader who has any degree of familiarity with mental illness and brain science is left unconvinced that his [Amen's] highly commercialized use of scanning is justified." Leuchter concluded that Amen "has not subjected his treatment approaches to the level of systematic scientific scrutiny expected for scientifically based medical practice."

In Amen's The Brain in Love, he described the brain activity that occurs during chanting meditation as similar to those which take place during the feeling of love and sexual activity.

In 2013 Amen co-authored with pastor Rick Warren The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life, on "how to lead a healthy life". Amen was one of the people— others included Mark Hyman and Mehmet Oz—that Warren recruited to help devise the program . Warren encouraged adoption of the plan by all member churches in his network of Saddleback churches. According to Janice Norris, "The Daniel Plan is ... more than a diet. It is a lifestyle program based on Biblical principles and five essential components: food, fitness, focus, faith, and friends." Amen, Warren, and Hyman appeared on the television show The View to discuss the Daniel Plan and 3,000 people came to a rally at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California to hear the three talk about the plan.

In 2013 Amen released an updated version of Healing ADD from the Inside Out: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the Seven Types of Attention Deficit Disorder.

Television programs

Amen has produced television programs about his theories. One of them, "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life," was aired by PBS affiliates 1,300 times in 2008 during fund-raising drives. Another, "Magnificent Mind at Any Age with Dr. Daniel Amen," was aired before January 1, 2009. Neurologist Michael Greicius, director of the Stanford Center for Memory Disorders and principal investigator of the Functional Imaging in Neuropsychiatric Disorders Laboratory at Stanford stated, "The PBS airing of Amen’s program provides a stamp of scientific validity to work which has no scientific validity." These programs have been described as infomercials for Amen's clinics. The program's depiction of the "wonders of ginkgo and other 'natural' products such as St. John's wort." was also criticized. Alternative-medicine skeptic and physician Harriet A. Hall and neurologist Robert A. Burton criticized PBS for the airing of these programs. Michael Getler, the PBS ombudsman, replied that "PBS had nothing to do with the 'Brain' program's content and did not vet the program in any way." Local PBS affiliates "make their own editorial decisions based on their own guidelines about what to air," he wrote.

Reception of ideas

In 2012, The Washington Post Magazine ran a cover story titled "Daniel Amen is the most popular psychiatrist in America. To most researchers and scientists, that's a very bad thing." The Washington Post detailed Amen's lack of acceptance among the scientific community and his monetary conflict of interest. Journalist Sanjiv Bhattacharya wrote that Amen's critics likened him "to a self-help guru rather than a scientist, on account of all the books, DVDs and nutritional supplements which he hawks so shamelessly on infomercials" and that Amen was "the most controversial psychiatrist in America [who] may also be the most commercially successful." Amen stated he felt the accolades went hand-in-hand and that "One reason why they hate me is because I make money. [...] our biggest referral sources are our patients. If I'm defrauding them how would I stay in business for decades?"

In 2008, Tufts professor and author Daniel Carlat published an article on Amen's use of SPECT imaging. After visiting Amen's clinics, Carlat called Amen's interpretations of the scans "spectacularly meaningless."

Memberships and recognition

Amen is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has also been an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine.

Amen is the author of more than 30 books with combined sales of about one million copies. Five of his books have been New York Times bestsellers. In 2015, Amen's The Daniel Plan received the Christian Book of the Year Award.

Personal life

Amen's wife, Tana, is a nurse who works in the Amen Clinics; they have a daughter, Chloe.

Selected publications

  • Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness (1999) ISBN 9780748114689
  • Healing Anxiety and Depression Amen and Lisa C. Routh (2004) ISBN 0425198448
  • Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Performance (2006) ISBN 9781400082094
  • The Brain in Love: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life (2009) ISBN 9780307587893
  • Magnificent Mind at Any Age: Natural Ways to Unleash Your Brain's Maximum Potential (2009) ISBN 9780307339102
  • Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted (2010) ISBN 9780748124046
  • The Amen Solution: The Brain Healthy Way to Get Thinner, Smarter, Happier (2011) ISBN 9780307463616
  • Unleash the Power of the Female Brain (2013) ISBN 9780307888945
  • References

    Daniel Amen Wikipedia