Volumetric structural brain abnormalities in men with schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder

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Brain abnormalities are found in association with antisocial personality disorder and schizophrenia, the two mental disorders most implicated in violent behaviour. Structural magnetic resonance imaging was used to investigate the whole brain, cerebellum, temporal lobe, lateral ventricles, caudate nucleus, putamen, thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala and the prefrontal, pre-motor, sensorimotor, occipito-parietal regions in 13 men with antisocial personality disorder, 13 men with schizophrenia and a history of violence, 15 men with schizophrenia without violent history and 15 healthy non-violent men. Compared to controls, the antisocial personality disorder group displayed reductions in whole brain volume and temporal lobe as well as increases in putamen volume. Both schizophrenia groups regardless of violence history exhibited increased lateral ventricle volume, while the schizophrenia group with violent history showed further abnormalities including reduced whole brain and hippocampal volumes and increased putamen size. The findings suggest that individuals with antisocial personality disorder as well as those with schizophrenia and a history of violence have common neural abnormalities, but also show neuro-anatomical differences. The processes by which they came to apparently common ground may, however, differ. The finding of temporal lobe reductions prevalent among those with antisocial personality disorder and hippocampal reduction in the violent men with schizophrenia contributes support for the importance of this region in mediating violent behaviour.

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