Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pedophiles Have Deficits In Brain Activation, Study Suggests

Date:
September 24, 2007
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Functional brain imaging can describe neural circuits contributing to pedophilia. Deficits of activation in the frontal cortex were associated with the extent of pedophilic behavior. In other words, when shown erotic pictures of adults, the brains of the pedophilic patients had reduced reactions in the pleasure center of the brain, indicating an altered sexual interest.

Pedophilia, the sexual attraction of adults to children, is a significant public health concern and it does not respond well to treatment. Additionally, the brain mechanisms underlying pedophilia are not well understood.

Related Articles


A new study being published in the September 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry is the first of its kind to use functional brain imaging to describe neural circuits contributing to pedophilia.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, Walter and colleagues report that pedophilic patients showed reduced activation of the hypothalamus, a brain region involved in regulating physiologic arousal and hormone release, as compared to healthy individuals when they were viewing sexually arousing pictures of adults.

Deficits of activation in the frontal cortex were associated with the extent of pedophilic behavior. In other words, when shown erotic pictures of adults, the brains of the pedophilic patients had reduced reactions in the pleasure center of the brain, indicating an altered sexual interest.

John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, comments that, "the ability to intervene rationally in this disorder is limited by shortcomings in our understanding of its neurobiology. The findings provide clues to the complexity of this disorder, [and] this deficit may predispose individuals who are vulnerable to pedophilia to seek other forms of stimulation." It is important to acknowledge and consider however, that it is currently unknown "whether this pattern of brain activation is a risk factor for the development of pedophilia or a consequence of their pedophilic sexual experiences," according to Dr. Krystal, and future research will be needed.

One of the study's authors, Georg Northoff, M.D., Ph.D., adds, "[These findings] may open the door for better understanding the neurobiology of this disorder which is of forensic, criminal and public concern. Our results may thus be seen as the first step towards establishing a neurobiology of pedophilia which ultimately may contribute to the development of new and effective means of therapies for this debilitating disorder."

The article is "Pedophilia Is Linked to Reduced Activation in Hypothalamus and Lateral Prefrontal Cortex During Visual Erotic Stimulation" by Martin Walter, Joachim Witzel, Christine Wiebking, Udo Gubka, Michael Rotte, Kolja Schiltz, Felix Bermpohl, Claus Tempelmann, Bernhard Bogerts, Hans Jochen Heinze, and Georg Northoff. Drs. Walter, Wiebking, Schiltz, Bogerts and Northoff are with the Department of Psychiatry, Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg, Germany, while Drs. Rotte, Tempelmann, and Heinze are with the Department of Neurology. Drs. Witzel and Gubka are affiliated with the State Hospital for Forensic Psychiatry of Saxonia Anhaltina, Germany. Dr. Bermpohl is with the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Charitι Medical School, University Medicine Berlin, Germany. The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 62, Issue 6 (September 15, 2007), published by Elsevier.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Pedophiles Have Deficits In Brain Activation, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920091209.htm>.
Elsevier. (2007, September 24). Pedophiles Have Deficits In Brain Activation, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920091209.htm
Elsevier. "Pedophiles Have Deficits In Brain Activation, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920091209.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) — A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) — An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) — A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) — If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins