Brain’s stunted growth behind teen misbehaviour

April 1st, 2011 - 4:14 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 1 (IANS) Teenaged children who misbehave have stunted growth in brain areas that deal with emotions, especially fear and the ability to feel the pain of others.

Their anti-social behaviour could have a biological basis and could potentially open the way to new treatments.

The study, led by Cambridge University, attempted to explain why five percent of school kids suffer from conduct disorder (CD), a psychiatric condition characterised by aggressive and anti-social traits, the American Journal of Psychiatry reports.

They looked at 63 boys with an average age of 18 with conduct disorder, some of whom developed problems at an early age and some who began to display anti-social behaviour in adolescence, according to the Telegraph.

They were compared with a group of 27 “normal” teenagers from similar backgrounds.

Brain scans showed that two regions were significantly smaller in affected teenagers, including those who only started behaving badly only when they reached adolescence.

The two areas are — amygdala and insula, which contribute to emotional perception, empathy, and the ability to recognise when others are in distress.

The condition can develop in young children, or not show itself until the teenage years.
Those affected are at greater risk of mental problems, substance abuse and criminality in later in the life.

Ian Goodyer, study co-author, said: “We hope that our results will contribute to existing psychosocial strategies for detecting children at high risk of developing anti-social behaviour.”

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health |