Resting EEG deficits in accused murderers with schizophrenia

Department of Criminal Justice, California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 08/2011; 194(1):85-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.12.017
Source: PubMed


Empirical evidence continues to suggest a biologically distinct violent subtype of schizophrenia. The present study examined whether murderers with schizophrenia would demonstrate resting EEG deficits distinguishing them from both non-violent schizophrenia patients and murderers without schizophrenia. Resting EEG data were collected from five diagnostic groups (normal controls, non-murderers with schizophrenia, murderers with schizophrenia, murderers without schizophrenia, and murderers with psychiatric conditions other than schizophrenia) at a brain hospital in Nanjing, China. Murderers with schizophrenia were characterized by increased left-hemispheric fast-wave EEG activity relative to non-violent schizophrenia patients, while non-violent schizophrenia patients instead demonstrated increased diffuse slow-wave activity compared to all other groups. Results are discussed within the framework of a proposed left-hemispheric over-processing hypothesis specific to violent individuals with schizophrenia, involving left hemispheric hyperarousal deficits, which may lead to a homicidally violent schizophrenia outcome.

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    • "Electroencephalographic (EEG) findings also provide evidence of specific brain abnormalities in violent offenders with schizophrenia. In a study of resting-state EEG, Schug et al. (2011) found that murderers with schizophrenia demonstrated increased lefthemispheric fast-wave EEG activity relative to nonviolent schizophrenia patients, a finding consistent with generalized overarousal. The overall conclusion from these biological studies is that: (1) studies have consistently identified brain signatures (structural and functional) of increased risk for violence in people with schizophrenia; (2) in most cases, these are similar to what is observed among violent offenders without schizophrenia (Raine, 2013); but (3) this nonspecificity should not be interpreted as indicating lack of utility. "
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