Inside The Brains of Mass Shooters

Do mass shooters brains look different than non-violent brains?

The answer is yes.

Our founder, Dr. Daniel Amen, spoke with ABC reporter, Frank Elaridi on the epidemic that we are facing today.

How Do Mass Shooters Brains’ Look Different on a SPECT Scan?

(See images described in video here)

First, what appears to be holes in the brain are not actually holes, rather they are areas of low metabolic activity, low blood flow. A SPECT scan is a map of brain metabolism. It shows how well the blood is flowing through arteries and veins in the brain. This is important because the brain must have oxygen and glucose to function (oxygen and glucose are carried to the brain through blood). Thus the holes that appear on a SPECT are not areas of lost brain matter, these are areas of low blood flow therefore impaired brain activity.

In each shooter exhibited in the video’s SPECT scans, one had lower blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex which controls forethought, impulse control and focus. One had significant damage to the cerebellum.

Could SPECT Diagnose These Types of People?

Neuroscientists actually know quite a lot about the human brain and the mind it generates. Through 140,000 brain scans over nearly 30 years at Amen Clinics, we have used SPECT scans as maps to make neural connections in thousands of patients.

The future of psychiatry will be paved through imaging. Currently, psychiatrists are the only medical specialists who rarely look at the organ they treat. Most continue to make diagnoses the same way they did years ago, based on symptom clusters and clinical observations. There is a better way. SPECT imaging is a clinically valuable tool for looking at brain function to help target treatment.

We Can Help

SPECT helps provide new answers to mental health issues and helps clinicians ask better, more targeted questions; such as about brain trauma, infections, ADD symptoms, seizure issues, or past emotional traumas. If you, or someone you love, could benefit from an evaluation at Amen Clinics, call our Care Coordinators today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more online.

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