Abnormal brain structure in youth who commit homicide
The violence that leads to homicide results in an extreme financial and emotional burden on society. Juveniles who commit homicide are often tried in adult court and typically spend the majority of their lives in prison. Despite the enormous costs associated with homicidal behavior, there have been no serious neuroscientific studies examining youth who commit homicide. The neuroscientists' results indicate that brain structural differences may help identify those at the highest risk for committing serious violent offenses.
Image: Homicide offenders (n = 20) vs. non-homicide offenders (n = 135) without covariates. Regional gray matter volume decreases in homicide offenders (n = 20) compared with non-homicide offenders (n = 135). All voxels indicated in blue color map represent regions that are significant after correcting for searching the entire brain using a cluster-corrected threshold of p < .05 (i.e., 1427 contiguous voxels at peak height of p < .05). Coordinates are in Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) space. The color bar represents t-values. These results show that youth who commit homicide have global brain differences in the majority of the cortical ribbon relative to comparison youth who do not commit homicide.