Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain scans appear to show changes associated with violent behavior

Date:
June 7, 2011
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
A brain imaging study suggests that men with a history of violent behavior may have greater gray matter volume in certain brain areas, whereas men with a history of substance use disorders may have reduced gray matter volume in other brain areas, according to a new report.

A brain imaging study suggests that men with a history of violent behavior may have greater gray matter volume in certain brain areas, whereas men with a history of substance use disorders may have reduced gray matter volume in other brain areas, according to a report published online by the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to background information in the article, research suggests that violent behavior may stem from a complicated mix of biological, psychological, and social factors. Studies of the brains of violent individuals have yielded preliminary information, yet scientists still have much to learn. "The interpretation of studies of the brain morphology of violent offenders is further limited by the fact that most of these men present with a substance use disorder (SUD)," write the authors. "Thus, teasing apart alterations in brain structure associated with persistent violent behavior and those associated with SUDs presents an ongoing challenge."

Boris Schiffer, Ph.D., from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, and colleagues compared violent offenders, both with (12) and without SUDs (12), with nonviolent men, both with (13) and without SUDs (14). The first group was recruited from penitentiaries and forensic hospitals, and the second group was recruited from psychiatric outpatient programs and by advertisements and employment agencies. Experienced psychiatrists assessed the participants -- all men between 23 and 54 years -- for mental disorders, psychopathy, aggressive behavior, and impulsivity. All study participants underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging at a university hospital.

The researchers identified differences in the brains of men in the various categories. Participants with a history of violence and had a greater volume of gray matter in certain brain areas than nonviolent participants, regardless of a history of SUDs. The increases in gray matter volume among violent offenders appeared in the mesolimbic areas of the brain, which previous research suggests are linked to feelings of desire and reward as well as antisocial behavior and psychopathology. Further, gray matter decreases in other areas of the brain characterized men with SUDs regardless of a history of violence.

The larger gray matter volumes in participants with violent tendencies were associated with higher scores for psychopathy and lifelong aggressiveness, whereas the smaller volumes of gray matter in those with SUDs appeared to be related to response inhibition. Among men with SUDs, the study found smaller gray matter volume in areas of the brain that play a part in social behavior as well inhibition. The authors call for more research "to link the observed structural abnormalities to specific deficits in functioning assessed by both neuropsychological tests and behavior in the real world and to the interactions of genes and environmental factors."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Boris Schiffer; Bernhard W. Muller; Norbert Scherbaum; Sheilagh Hodgins; Michael Forsting; Jens Wiltfang; Elke R. Gizewski; Norbert Leygraf. Disentangling Structural Brain Alterations Associated With Violent Behavior From Those Associated With Substance Use Disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2011; DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.61

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Brain scans appear to show changes associated with violent behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606171410.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2011, June 7). Brain scans appear to show changes associated with violent behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606171410.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Brain scans appear to show changes associated with violent behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606171410.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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