Top critical review
Lots of Research & Effort, Somewhat distorted conclusions
on September 2, 2002
Dr. Amen has done a lot of work with modern brain imaging technology, and has charted correlations with patterns of brain activity and add/adhd subtypes. His research is certainly useful and somewhat helpful in identifying approaches for treatment. It also helps predict which medications are likely to have an immediate negative effect on a given person. However, the mind-brain connection goes BOTH ways, so the brain activity is affected by both biochemical factors and emotional/psychological factors. Thus, the imaging doesn't really prove what Amen claims it does, namely that ADD is a specific set of biological abnormalities [interpreted properly this research fits with the idea that ADD is a menu of symptoms that are triggered by multiple biological and psychological factors]. The fact that Amen uses EEG neurofeedback successfully disproves his idea of ADD as an essentially biological illness, since symptoms that can be resolved by the mind can also be created by the mind. Amen's commentary minimizes the hazards of medications prescribed under his methods, and while acknowledging nutritional/dietary factors, he underplays their significance, especially with regard to allergies and sensitivities. I also suggest people consider that the brain imaging procedure itself presents a potential health risk, and that there are a number of effective non-drug nutritional, neurofeedback, and psychosocial interventions that don't necessitate any expensive radiating the brain with SPECT scans. This book is worth reading and has some useful information, but parts of it are misguided or misleading.