Brain SPECT as an Imaging Biomarker for Evaluating Effects of Novel Treatments in Psychiatry – A Case Series

Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry. 12 (no pagination), 2021. Article Number: 713141.

Date of Publication: 13 Jan 2022.

Authors: Best S.R.D.; Haustrup N.; Pavel D.G.

Abstract: The difficulties of evaluating patients with complex neuropsychiatric conditions and prescribing appropriate treatments are well known. Imaging complements clinical assessments and allows a clinician to narrow the differential diagnosis by facilitating accurate and efficient evaluation. This is particularly relevant to neuropsychiatric conditions that are often diagnosed using a trial-and error process of exclusion. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) is a functional brain imaging procedure that allows practitioners to measure the functional changes of gray matter structures based on regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). The accurate diagnosis and treatment selection in psychiatry is challenging due to complex cases and frequent comorbidities. However, such complex neuropsychiatric conditions are increasingly benefitting from new treatment approaches, in addition to established medications. Among these are combination transcranial magnetic stimulation with ketamine infusions
(CTK), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and perispinal administration of etanercept (PSE). This article provides readers with six case study examples that demonstrate how brain SPECT imaging can be used, both as a diagnostic tool, and as a potential biomarker for monitoring and evaluating novel treatments for patients with complex neuropsychiatric conditions. Six patients were assessed in our clinic and baseline brain SPECT imagesTourettes and a long history of alcohol were visually compared with SPECT images collected after periods of treatment with CTK or HBOT followed by PSE. This retrospective review demonstrates the clinical utility of these novel treatments and describes how SPECT imaging can complement standard diagnostic assessments. A novel display technique for SPECT images is described and we argue that SPECT imaging can be used for monitoring biomarker for clinical change.