Protect the Brain – Change the World

Specific brain injuries greatly contribute to suicide and many social ills.   Th­e United States is renowned for ha­ving one of the most sophisticated judicial systems in the world, yet the system remains far behind the research with regard to behavior.  Character is judged and punishment is the outcome.  It’s an archaic system.  Violence experts have shown that prisons do not rehabilitate. Brain injuries often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.  It can take from a few years to a decade or two before negative behavioral patterns develop.  Rarely are brain injuries associated with negative behavioral patterns.

Neurological studies show that children who experience damage in the prefrontal cortex often develop significant behavioral problems, sometimes years after the injuries, even decades.  Adults who sustain damage in the prefrontal cortex are generally aware of proper social and moral conduct but are unable to apply such behaviors.   Studies also show that the prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain impaired in violent criminals, murders, and rapists.  The forehead region is most often the site of injury.

Neurology professor Dr. Antonio Damasio and colleagues at the University of Iowa College of Medicine reported on two cases of early brain damage to the prefrontal cortex. As adults, both patients showed the same two distinctive features: an almost total lack of guilt and an inability to plan for the future – but were normal in almost every other type of mental ability.

The patients had problems with violence and resembled “psychopathic individuals who were characterized by high levels of aggression and antisocial behavior performed without guilt or empathy for their victims,” commented Raymond Dolan of Institute of Neurology in London. Their brains were just not capable of acquiring social and moral knowledge even at a normal level.  Source

Published in “Nature Neuroscience 1999“, two subjects had sustained prefrontal damage (lesions) before the age of two.  Both children appeared to have recovered from their injuries.  However, as they grew older they exhibited behavioral problems, i.e., stealing, lying, verbal and physical abuse towards others.  They also showed a lack of remorse.  According to the researchers, there were no other environmental explanations for their behavior.  Both children came from middle-class families with siblings who were socially well-adjusted.

According to Children’s Hospital Boston, brain injuries are the leading cause of sports-related death in children.  The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that an estimated 300,000 cases of traumatic brain injury occur each year in the United States from sports and recreation accidents.  Males accounted for about 70.5% of traumatic brain injuries and are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-44 in the US.

Brain injury has become known as the “signature injury” of the Iraq war. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), a congressionally funded research and outreach agency, cites a brain injury rate of 62% among troops returning from combat duty in Iraq.

Reuters reports:

“The top five violent felony offenses committed by soldiers in 2011 were aggravated assault, rape, aggravated sexual assault, forcible sodomy and child pornography.Violent sex crimes committed by active U.S. Army soldiers have almost doubled over the past five years, due in part to the trauma of war, according to an Army report released on Thursday.

Reported violent sex crimes increased by 90 percent over the five-year period from 2006 to 2011.  Most were committed in the United States.

One violent sex crime was committed by a soldier every six hours and 40 minutes in 2011, the Army said, serving as the main driver for an overall increase in violent felony crimes.  Soldiers suffering from issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, and depression have been shown to have higher incidences of partner abuse, according to the report.”

US Copyright Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107

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4 thoughts on “Protect the Brain – Change the World

  1. It makes you think hey? I wonder will they ever discover all the mysteries regarding the brain? Lovely article Victoria and thanks for sharing. 😀

  2. Pingback: Paridigm Shift – Human Responsibility and Neuroscience | The Free-Thinking Human

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