Brain regions of people with anti-social behaviors differ from that of normal individuals, said a new study.
Researchers from University of Cambridge and University of Southampton in the UK used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to look at the brain structure of boys who had been diagnosed with conduct disorder.
‘Boys and young men with conduct disorder dating from childhood have a distinct pattern of thickness in the cerebral cortex region of the brain.’
Conduct disorder is a complex behavioral disorder characterized by wild, unruly aggressive behaviors including violence, lying, stealing, and weapon use.
They recruited 152 males aged 13-18 years, where 57 of them had conduct disorder while 95 were healthy individuals. Their brain scans showed variations in thickness in all four areas of the cortex, including the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices.
But these differences were not found in the brain scans of healthy individuals. The study also found that the cortical thickness was found only in boys who developed conduct disorder in the childhood and not during adolescence.
Authors noted that this was the first study to interpret marked differences in brain structure between the child-onset and adolescent-onset forms of conduct disorder.
"This provides extremely compelling evidence that conduct disorder is a real psychiatric disorder and not, as some experts maintain, just an exaggerated form of teenage rebellion," said Graeme Fairchild from the University of Southampton.The findings were published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry