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|Youth hockey brain imaging study suggests early marker for concussion damage
||James Hudziak, M.D., has two children who love ice hockey. His son skates for his college team and one of his daughters plays in high school. As a pediatric neuropsychiatrist and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families at the University of Vermont (UVM) College of Medicine, Hudziak believes in the benefits [...]The post Youth hockey brain imaging study suggests early marker for concussion damage appeared first on PsyPost.
|In a crisis, the bigger your social network, the better
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|Cooperation, considered: New model reveals how motives can affect cooperation
||Aside from the obvious, what is it that separates Mother Theresa from Sean Penn? Both have tried to perform charitable acts – Mother Theresa worked for decades in the slums of Calcutta and Penn was among those who traveled to New Orleans to rescue victims of Hurricane Katrina. But while Mother Theresa is today recognized [...]The post Cooperation, considered: New model reveals how motives can affect cooperation appeared first on PsyPost.
|Increasing individualism in US linked with rise of white-collar jobs
||Rising individualism in the United States over the last 150 years is mainly associated with a societal shift toward more white-collar occupations, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The study, which looked at various cultural indicators — including word usage in books, trends in baby names, [...]The post Increasing individualism in US linked with rise of white-collar jobs appeared first on PsyPost.
|Is Masturbation Bad for You?
||Masturbation is a funny word. It might make you giggle thinking about the first time you got caught by your parents or caught your little brother in the act. It can be a great way to release tension, or a way to stay satisfied when you can’t be with a...
|The Funny Thing About Self-Care, Part 2
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|Cell signaling pathway goes awry in common pediatric brain tumor
||A well-known cell communication pathway called Notch has been linked by scientists to one of the most common — but overall still rare — brain tumors found in children.
|Online comments influence opinions on vaccinations
||With measles and other diseases once thought eradicated making a comeback in the United States, healthcare websites are on the spot to educate consumers about important health risks. Washington State University researchers say that people may be influenced more by online comments than by credible public service announcements (PSAs). Writing in the Journal of Advertising, [...]The post Online comments influence opinions on vaccinations appeared first on PsyPost.
|Medical marijuana for children with developmental and behavioral disorders?
||As medical marijuana becomes increasingly accepted, there is growing interest in its use for children and adolescents with developmental and behavioral problems such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a review in the February Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral [...]The post Medical marijuana for children with developmental and behavioral disorders? appeared first on PsyPost.
|Criminality and Dementia
We may not be surprised when an older person with a long history of criminal behavior gets into trouble again. But when a 60-year-old minister who has always been a role model to his community or a 75-year-old aunt who never did anything even vaguely illegal is arrested, we wonder what is going on.
A recent study published in JAMA Neurology by Madeleine Liljegren and colleagues suggests that new, late-onset criminal behaviors may reflect an underlying dementia. Furthermore, these investigators demonstrate that the types of crimes committed vary with the type of dementia.
This study involved a retrospective record review of patients seen at the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco between 1999 and 2012. About 8% of 545 people with Alzheimer’s disease got into legal trouble, often because of trespassing or traffic violations. Such behaviors usually occurred when cognitive symptoms of the dementia were already well established. People with dementia may wander onto private property or drive the wrong way on a highway because they are confused. They may walk out of a store with an item thinking they had already purchased it. Such “criminal” behavior is understandable in the context of the illness.
Late-onset criminal behaviors involving socially inappropriate actions such as unwanted sexual advances, public urination, and fighting usually do not occur in the context of Alzheimer’s disease. However, such behaviors are common in another type of dementia called behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). In fact, Liljegren and colleagues reported that over 37% of 171 persons with bvFTD got into legal trouble with socially inappropriate behaviors.
BvFTD typically occurs in people in their 50s and is characterized by a gradual onset of personality changes including impulsive and inappropriate behaviors. Over time, these behaviors become more pronounced. Cognitive changes involving memory, organizational abilities, and language gradually develop, but after, not before, the behavioral changes. Early brain damage in bvFTD involves brain regions that are part of the “emotional salience network.” This network includes regions such as the amygdala and insular cortex, areas known to regulate emotional processing. Alzheimer’s disease initially attacks different areas of the brain related to cognitive processing, memory, and planning (referred to as the “default mode network”). Why these different forms of dementia initially attack specific brain networks remains poorly understood, but it is an area of high scientific and clinical interest.
When a middle-aged or elderly person gets into trouble with the law for the first time in his or her life, psychiatrists may be asked to evaluate the person in order to determine if a neuropsychiatric condition contributed to the criminal behavior. In addition to dementias, other neuropsychiatric disorders that can begin in mid to late life, including bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse, may lead to criminal behaviors. The medical management of conditions such as bvFTD, mania, and alcohol abuse, and the legal management of criminal behaviors committed by persons suffering from these conditions demonstrate the important interaction between medicine and the law.
This column was co-written by Eugene Rubin MD, PhD and Charles Zorumski MD.
Criminal behavior, Alzheimer's disease, and frontotemporal dementia.
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Criminal behaviors that begin in mid or late life may be a consequence of dementia. The types of crimes committed by persons with Alzheimer’s disease differ from those committed by persons with frontotemporal dementia.
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