Change Your Brain Change Your Life

“Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” – No Way

By: - Depression - May 12, 2011
change your brain change your life

Being a skeptic by nature and profession, as well as unfamiliar with the topic, I had a notion that my Internet search for “change your brain, change your life” would leave me shaking my head.

What is meant by such mumbo jumbo? How can Americans waste precious time on psychological snake oil?

These thoughts jumped out even though I had never before looked for any “change your brain, change your life” reviews.

A quick click on Google brought me to the Web site of the Amen Clinics, Inc., whose chief, Dr. Daniel Amen, is the author of the treatise “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.”

As described on the site, Amen Clinics specialize “in innovative diagnosis and treatment for a wide variety of neuropsychiatric, behavioral and learning problems among children, teenagers and adults.”

I also learned that the enterprise has gained “a national reputation for utilizing brain SPECT imaging for a wide variety of neuropsychiatric problems, especially Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).”

The Amen Clinics assert that through brain imaging it has been able to identify seven different types of anxiety and depression, six different types of ADD, and five different types of obesity.

It is incontestable that severe depression, ADD and obesity have destroyed individual lives and families. So, if genuine help is available, why not go for it?

The Man

Dr. Amen has gained an aura of professional respectability through his PBS special, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” and appearances on various television network programs.

Just who is this guy?

In 1982, he received a degree in medicine from the Oral Roberts University School of Medicine. The medical school, after an 11-year life span, closed its doors in 1989. He went on to serve seven years as a doctor specializing in psychiatry in the U.S. Army.

As described on his Web site, Dr. Amens is currently an assistant clinical professor, psychiatry and human behavior, at the University of California, Irvine. Only if you go to the school’s Web site will you learn that this is a “volunteer” position.

Critics Galore

Just a cursory look at “change your brain, change your life” reviews is enough to suggest that Dr. Amen and his theories have gained more than a few critics.

The criticism ranges from his medical pronouncements to the potpourri of items available for purchase on his Web site.

A comprehensive critique of Dr. Amen published in Salon magazine in 2008 also criticized PBS for not vetting the content of his production that was shown some 1,300 times on PBS outlets during March and April of that year.

“By cleverly wording his claims and cherry-picking his evidence, Amen has created the false impression that an earlier diagnosis of A.D. [Alzheimer’s disease] can ultimately slow down or prevent its devastating effects,” wrote Dr. Robert Burton, former chief of neurology at Mount Zion-UCSF Hospital. ‘The implications and potential risks of such unsubstantiated claims are very real.” His article was entitled, “Brain Scam.”

Dr. Amen did respond in some detail to the Burton article and concluded by saying: “One would think that a well-trained, unbiased neurologist would do a better job at presenting both sides, but it was obvious that was not part of his agenda.”

To which Dr. Burton responded: “Dr. Amen’s comments are further evidence for my article’s position.”

This “change your brain change your life” review can only reach one conclusion – caveat emptor.


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