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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The search for the roots of psychopathy.

Dr. Kent Kiehl uses MRI technology to scan prison inmates for signs of pyschopathy in the hope of discovering a treatment.



In January of 2007, Kiehl arranged to have a portable functional magnetic-resonance-imaging scanner brought into Western—the first fMRI ever installed in a prison. So far, he has recruited hundreds of volunteers from among the inmates. The data from these scans, Kiehl hopes, will confirm his theory, published in Psychiatry Research, in 2006, that psychopathy is caused by a defect in what he calls “the paralimbic system,” a network of brain regions, stretching from the orbital frontal cortex to the posterior cingulate cortex, that are involved in processing emotion, inhibition, and attentional control. His dream is to confound the received wisdom by helping to discover a treatment for psychopathy. “If you could target the brain region involved, then maybe you could find a drug that treats that region,” he told me. “If you could treat just five per cent of them, that would be a Nobel Prize right there.”


http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/10/081110fa_fact_seabrook?currentPage=all

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