Daniel G. Amen, MD

CEO, Amen Clinics, Inc.
Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association

If you follow my work you know that I am convinced, based on over 20 years as a psychiatrist and looking at nearly 50,000 brain scans, that psychiatric disorders are rarely simple or pure in their origin or manifestations.

Just as psychiatric issues have many causes, the best treatment options usually involve several things. I encourage my patients and our physicians to treat mental and emotional problems from biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual perspectives.

Sadly, biology is often overlooked. I believe this is a big mistake as many common disorders have been linked to physical problems, like thyroid and other hormone levels. Even your blood sugar levels matter to the health of your brain. If you have diabetes, take it seriously and make sure your blood sugar is tightly controlled. Here is a new study which links blood sugar levels to brain function…
“Impact of fasting glycemia and regional cerebral perfusion in diabetic subjects: a study with technetium-99m-ethyl cysteinate dimer single photon emission computed tomography. Cosentino F, Battista R, Scuteri A, De Sensi F, De Siati L, Di Russo C, Camici GG, Volpe M. Stroke. 2009 Jan;40(1):306-8.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diabetes mellitus increases the risk of ischemic stroke. The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and changes in regional cerebral perfusion (CP) in subjects with DM.

METHODS: CP was assessed in 24 subjects (mean age 44+/-2.5 years) with type 1 diabetes mellitus by single photon emission computed tomography.

RESULTS: Analysis of CP during elevated FPG (224+/-24 mg/dL) showed 3 or more deficits in 42% of the subjects. A positive relationship between the number of CP deficits and FPG was observed (P<0.01), but not with age, sex, body mass index, or duration of diabetes mellitus. Regional deficits were reduced (P<0.001) with improvement in FPG (119+/-5 mg/dL). This reduction remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index. Plasma levels of P-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, established markers of endothelial dysfunction, were significantly decreased with lower FPG. Furthermore, thiobarbituric acid reactive substance plasma levels, an index of oxidative stress, were also reduced (P<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that changes in FPG are associated with functional changes in regional CP. Hyperglycemia-induced endothelial dysfunction may be implicated in the impaired regional CP of diabetic subjects.”

We try very hard to stay on top of the latest scientific research, especially as it applies to brain function and health.  We have an in-house research department which not only does research using our database of scans, but stays on top of brain research from around the world.

If you visit our website at you can find over 2,400 research articles under the “Science” section.  All that to say that we believe accurate information is helpful – it teaches us to ask better questions and ultimately to help our patients improve.

Leave a Reply