So now taking a particular diet can influence corrective behaviour in prisoners.
The hypothesis viz violent aggression is largely a product of poor nutrition was tested in a prison setting. Technically speaking researchers are studying whether prsioners become less violent when put on a diet rich in vitamins and in the fatty acids found in seafood. The paper titled "Seafood Consumption and Homicide Mortality", raised this debate, in 2001, Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, a senior clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health. He found a correlation between a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids (most often obtained from fish) and lower murder rates.
AdvertisementBernard Gesch, a senior research scientist at Oxford University, set out to show that better nutrition does, in fact, decrease violence. 231 volunteers at a British prison in his study were enrolled; one-half received a placebo, while the other half received fatty acids and other supplements. The control group showed little change. Gesch published his results in 2002 and plans to start a larger study later this year. Similar trials are already under way in Holland and Norway.
The question Dr. Gesch asks, "But how do you exercise that free will without using your brain? And how, exactly, is the brain going to work properly without an adequate nutrient supply?"
Gesch further adds that we shouldn't expect nutrition alone to banish violent behavior. "The brain needs to be nourished in two ways. It needs to be educated, and it needs nutrients. Both social and physical factors are important." Simply throwing fish and vegetables at violent criminals is unlikely to have a lasting effect on its own. Then again, we already live in a society in which parents have resorted to drugs like Ritalin to quell unwanted outbursts and impulsive behavior.