Report by Sukree Boodram:
The objectives of this report are to establish an association between frontal lobe dysfunction and violent, criminal behavior and to determine the impact of habitual alcohol use and any damaging effects on the frontal lobe. Neuropsychiatry of frontal lobe dysfunction in violence criminals’ behavior is a study to determine the cause for criminal behavior and aggression. This type of behavior is often typical amongst those with abusive, highly aggressive, antisocial and impulsive behaviors. Frontal Lobe Changes in Alcoholism: A Review of the Literature is a report that takes a look at alcohol consumption and its contribution to frontal lobe changes as a result of the disease of alcoholism. There is evidence from neuropsychological studies that shows specific deficits suggesting frontal lobe dysfunction.
Doctors use a neurological tool called the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCA) to judge the degree of brain damage. The scale assigns a number from 3 to 15 with higher numbers denoting a higher degree of awareness. A score of 8 and below signifies severe brain injury, a score between 9 and 12 shows moderate brain injury, and a score above 13 would be a minor brain injury. The Glasgow Coma Scale measures the patient’s highest motor response, verbal response, and eye response. Still, the Glasgow Coma Scale is one of the most commonly used assessment tools for brain injury victims. It was first formulated in 1974 by Glasgow University neurology professors, Bryan Jennett and Graham Teasdale. Now used worldwide to evaluate head traumas, it has stimulated the creation of other assessment tools.
Other tests known as the Stroop Test along with Verbal Fluency can also be used. Both are used to measure the damage level to the frontal lobe. Stroop Test focuses on the relationship between word and reading of color. Verbal Fluency Test asks the subject to produce as many words as possible beginning with a certain letter.
Studies in Germany, UK, US and Vietnam focused on head injury of war veterans. The similarities of these independent studies support the theory that subjects with frontal lobe damage does show more aggressive and violent behaviors compared with subject not having frontal lobe damage.
Another study measured the neuropsychological effects of aggressive and antisocial subjects. A small study of subjects addicted to cocaine found highly violent subjects showed more frontal lobe dysfunction that those with lower violence non-aggressive behaviors. Also in a one-year study of forensic psychiatric inpatients who had committed violent crimes, scored low on three tests of the frontal lobe function. Overall, the studies supported a significant association between frontal lobe dysfunction and increased antisocial and aggressive behaviors
Subsequent studies were conducted to see the neurological effects of a violent and criminal population. In a study of adult male drug users, subjects rated higher aggressive behaviors when they showed significant frontal lobe. In another study of thirty one subjects referred by attorneys in murder cases found that 64.5% showed evidence of physical frontal damage
These studies have paved the way to a better understanding of the relationship between drugs, such as alcohol, and the frontal lobe functions. Results of tests suggest that chronic alcohol intake results in impaired functions of the cerebral tissue in the frontal region and the behaviors that correlates around this region of the brain.
The studies performed in these reports indicate that clinically significant frontal lobe dysfunction is associated with aggressive and violent behaviors and also can lead to criminal behaviors. These studies include subjects with both traumatic injuries, such as war veterans, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as chronic use of alcohol leading to alcoholism, and how they affect the front lobe.
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