MRIs link pedophilia to problems in brain development

Source : Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Pedophilia might be the result of faulty connections in the brain, according to new research released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study used MRIs and a sophisticated computer analysis technique to compare a group of pedophiles with a group of non-sexual criminals. The pedophiles had significantly less of a substance called “white matter.” which  is responsible for wiring the different parts of the brain together.  

The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatry Research, challenges the commonly held belief that pedophilia is brought on by childhood trauma or abuse. This finding is the strongest evidence yet that pedophilia is instead the result of a problem in brain development.

Previous research from this team has strongly hinted that the key to understanding pedophilia might be in how the brain develops. Pedophiles have lower IQs, are three times more likely to be left-handed, and even tend to be physically shorter than non-pedophiles.

“There is nothing in this research that says pedophiles shouldn’t be held criminally responsible for their actions,” said Dr. James Cantor, CAMH Psychologist and lead scientist of the study, “Not being able to choose your sexual interests doesn’t mean you can’t choose what you do.”

This discovery suggests that much more research attention should be paid to how the brain governs sexual interests. Such information could potentially yield strategies for preventing the development of pedophilia.

A total of 127 men participated in the study; approximately equal numbers of pedophiles and non-sexual offenders.

The Kurt Freund Laboratory at CAMH was established in 1968 and remains one of the world’s foremost centres for the research and diagnosis of pedophilia and other sexual disorders.

 

 

Provided by

DR WIDODO JUDARWANTO
FIGHT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND PEDOPHILIA 

Yudhasmara Foundation

JL TAMAN BENDUNGAN ASAHAN 5 JAKARTA PUSAT, JAKARTA INDONESIA 10210

PHONE : (021) 70081995 – 5703646

email : judarwanto@gmail.com, 

https://pedophiliasexabuse.wordpress.com/

Copyright © 2009, Fight Child Sexual Abuse and Pedophilia  Network  Information Education Network. All rights reserved.

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Study links brain defects to pedophilia

Study links brain defects to pedophilia

Missing Tissue; Psychiatrist says he was taken aback by results

Tom Blackwell, National Post Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Canadian study involving MRI brain scans has uncovered intriguing new evidence that pedophiles are compelled to commit their reviled crimes because of neurological flaws.

The brains of such offenders seem to contain considerably less white matter than those of non-sexual criminals, the research concluded. That missing tissue could indicate a breakdown in the neurological network that processes erotic signals — leading to an abnormal attraction to children, the authors theorize.

Dr. James Cantor, the psychologist who led the study, said he was taken aback by the variations between the pedophiles and non-sexual offenders.

“It’s actually quite a dramatic difference,” he said. “I expected … to find some tiny little area of the brain that might be different between one group and the other. Instead I found these large swaths of material that was very low in volume [in pedophiles].”

Those brain deficiencies might be caused by something that harmed the fetus while their mothers were pregnant. If so, identifying that influence could help prevent the creation of potential new pedophiles, said the paper just published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

Outside experts raised some questions about the validity of the results, but said the findings, if borne out with more research, would be a major step forward in understanding sexual impulses generally.

“If it turns out to be found in everyone who has this problem, it would [point to] the mechanism for not only normal sexual interest but abnormal sexual interest too,” said Paul Federoff, a psychologist at the Royal Ottawa Hospital who works with pedophiles. “That would be a huge development.”

However, he said the research shows only a correlation between the brain deficiency and pedophilia, not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship.

Scientists have traditionally believed that having a sexual preference for children was the result of environmental factors, such as sexual abuse or other trauma in childhood.

The focus of Dr. Cantor’s research, though, has been exploring possible biological causes. Other studies he conducted, for instance, have found that pedophiles are more likely to be left-handed and have low IQs, both potential indicators of a neurological deficit.

For the latest research, he had MRI brain scans performed on 65 people he identified as pedophiles, and a control group of 62 criminals with no history of sexual offences.

Digital analysis of the MRI images indicated that the pedophiles tended to have smaller volumes of white matter over a relatively large area of the brain.

In simple terms, white matter is like the computer cable that links segments of grey matter, the brain’s computers. The areas of white matter where pedophiles had deficiences happen to connect cortical regions that, other research suggests, process and respond to sexual clues. It is possible pedophiles have a disconnection, or insufficient connection, in that sexual-response network, the paper says.

That may either lead to pedophilia directly, or make people more susceptible to the problem if they are victims of outside influences, like child abuse, the study suggests.

Dr. Patrick Baillie, a Calgary psychologist who works with pedophiles, said the research is far from definitive, partly because some of those Dr. Cantor considered pedophiles may not truly meet the definition.

However, he said the notion of a neurological explanation for pedophilia makes sense to him. It might be the brain differences are caused by outside trauma at a young age, and the sexual preferences of that age are “locked in” for life, Dr. Baillie said.

Dr. Cantor said his arguments in favour of a biological explanation for pedophiles seem to resonate both with victims and parents of the offenders, based on letters he has received. Mothers of pedophiles have told him they were relieved to think that it was not necessarily something they did to their sons that turned them into sexual offenders.

Provided by

DR WIDODO JUDARWANTO
FIGHT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND PEDOPHILIA 

Yudhasmara Foundation

JL TAMAN BENDUNGAN ASAHAN 5 JAKARTA PUSAT, JAKARTA INDONESIA 10210

PHONE : (021) 70081995 – 5703646

email : judarwanto@gmail.com, 

https://pedophiliasexabuse.wordpress.com/

Copyright © 2009, Fight Child Sexual Abuse and Pedophilia  Network  Information Education Network. All rights reserved.