Abnormal brain structure in youth who commit homicide.

Cope LM1, Ermer E2, Gaudet LM3, Steele VR1, Eckhardt AL1, Arbabshirani MR1, Caldwell MF4, Calhoun VD1, Kiehl KA1.:

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.

Here we use neuroimaging and voxel-based morphometry to examine brain gray matter in incarcerated male adolescents who committed homicide (n = 20) compared with incarcerated offenders who did not commit homicide (n = 135). Two additional control groups were used to understand further the nature of gray matter differences: incarcerated offenders who did not commit homicide matched on important demographic and psychometric variables (n = 20) and healthy participants from the community (n = 21).