Reduced hippocampal and parahippocampal volumes in murderers with schizophrenia

Laboratory of NeuroImaging, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 03/2010; 182(1):9-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.10.013
Source: PubMed


Evidence has accumulated to suggest that individuals with schizophrenia are at increased risk for violent offending. Furthermore, converging evidence suggests that abnormalities in the fronto-limbic system, including the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the parahippocampal gyrus, may contribute towards both neuropsychological disturbances in schizophrenia and violent behavior. Since the behavioral and clinical consequences of disturbed fronto-limbic circuitry appear to differ in schizophrenia and violence, it may be argued that patients with schizophrenia who exhibit violent behavior would demonstrate different structural abnormalities compared to their non-violent counterparts. However, the neurobiological basis underlying homicide offenders with schizophrenia remains unclear and little is known regarding the cross-cultural applicability of the findings. Using a 2 x 2 factorial design on a total Chinese sample of 92 males and females, we found reduced gray matter volume in the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus in murderers with schizophrenia, in the parahippocampal gyrus in murderers without schizophrenia, and in the prefrontal cortex in non-violent schizophrenia compared to normal controls. Results provide initial evidence demonstrating cross-cultural generalizability of prior fronto-limbic findings on violent schizophrenia. Future studies examining subtle morphological changes in frontal and limbic structures in association with clinical and behavioral characteristics may help further clarify the neurobiological basis of violent behavior.

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    • "), again supporting the hypothesis of increased planning abilities in patients where violence is driven by psychopathy as opposed to psychosis. A consistent finding in the imaging literature among violent patients with psychotic disorders is abnormal connectivity between frontal and limbic structures (Yang et al., 2010 "
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    ABSTRACT: Published findings on the relationship between schizophrenia and violence have been mixed, due to differences in study design and quality. In this review, we address the issue with an emphasis on characterizing who is most likely to be violent and when. We conclude that: (1) individuals with schizophrenia are at an increased risk for violence due to specific psychotic symptoms; (2) this risk is increased by brain abnormalities, psychiatric comorbidities, and demographic factors that are not specific to schizophrenia; (3) the majority of violent offenses committed by people with schizophrenia are indistinguishable from offenses committed by others; and (4) despite our knowledge of factors related to increased violence risk and the existence of effective treatments to mitigate this risk, valid risk assessment instruments for this population are lacking, and treatment strategies are rarely employed at any level of psychiatric care. In short, while most people with schizophrenia are not violent and violence committed by people with this condition accounts for only a small percentage of overall violent crime, there is nevertheless a significantly increased risk for violence among subgroups in this population. This has implications for people living with people with schizophrenia, mental health professionals, administrators of psychiatric care facilities, law enforcement personnel, the court system, and policymakers.
    05/2015; 1(1):21-42. DOI:10.1080/23744006.2015.1033154
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    • "Volume reductions in the hippocampus in violent schizophrenic patients were also seen in other studies [35, 36]. Since hippocampal/parahippocampal deficits have been linked to memory impairments and affective dysregulation, Yang et al. [34] hypothesized that volume reductions in the hippocampus may predispose individuals with schizophrenia to be less sensible to social and emotional signs, which might contribute to the generation of conflicts and the inability to recognize signals for solution, leading to conflict escalation. Less consistent patterns of gray matter volume reductions were found in other studies, comparing violent and nonviolent schizophrenic patients. "
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals diagnosed with major mental disorders such as schizophrenia are more likely to have engaged in violent behavior than mentally healthy members of the same communities. Although aggressive acts can have numerous causes, research about the underlying neurobiology of violence and aggression in schizophrenia can lead to a better understanding of the heterogeneous nature of that behavior and can assist in developing new treatment strategies. The purpose of this paper is to review the recent literature and discuss some of the neurobiological correlates of aggression and violence. The focus will be on schizophrenia, and the results of neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies that have directly investigated brain functioning and/or structure in aggressive and violent samples will be discussed as well as other domains that might predispose to aggression and violence such as deficits in responding to the emotional expressions of others, impulsivity, and psychopathological symptoms. Finally gender differences regarding aggression and violence are discussed. In this context several methodological and conceptional issues that limited the comparison of these studies will be addressed.
    09/2012; 2012(5):158646. DOI:10.6064/2012/158646
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    • "Although the propensity for individuals with schizophrenia to commit violent criminal acts (e.g., Brennan et al. 2000; Hodgins 2008; Naudts and Hodgins 2006), including homicide (e.g., Wallace et al. 2004), is well established, the role of neuropsychological impairment in impulsive violent aggression , such as spontaneous domestic homicide, has not been extensively examined (e.g., Schug and Raine 2009; Yang et al. 2010). Based on the current findings, the severity of neurocognitive impairment manifested by men with paranoid schizophrenia, appears to be a contributing factor with regard to the commission of spontaneous domestic homicide . "
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    ABSTRACT: There is substantial evidence that individuals with schizophrenia are at increased risk for violent criminal behavior and an even higher risk for committing murder, relative to the general population. Neuropsychological features of seven schizophrenic men who murdered family members were compared to neuropsychological features of seven schizophrenic men with no history of violence, criminal offenses or antisocial behavior. The two groups were matched for age, education, race, gender, handedness, and diagnosis, and had similar psychotic symptom profiles and substance abuse histories. The schizophrenic murderers demonstrated significantly worse neuropsychological impairment, involving executive dysfunction and memory dysfunction, relative to nonviolent schizophrenic men. Implications include: (1) specific neuropsychological deficits may increase the likelihood of some schizophrenic men to murder family members due to an impaired capacity to inhibit impulsive violent aggression; (2) neuropsychological status of schizophrenic defendants who commit domestic homicide should be considered by the trier-of-fact when they are tried for murder.
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