December 21, 2013
Inflammation Blood Markers Linked To Violence Disorder

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is correlated with blood markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) for inflammation

People with intermittent explosive disorder a psychiatric illness characterized by impulsivity, hostility and recurrent aggressive outbursts have elevated levels of two markers of systemic inflammation in their blood, according to a study involving nearly 200 subjects.

The paper, published in the December 18, 2013, issue of JAMA Psychiatry, is the first carefully controlled study to document a direct relationship between inflammatory markers and recurrent, problematic, impulsive aggression in people diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder, but not in people in good mental health or those with other psychiatric disorders.

"These two markers consistently correlate with aggression and impulsivity but not with other psychiatric problems," said senior study author Emil Coccaro, MD, the Ellen C. Manning professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. "We don't yet know if the inflammation triggers aggression or aggressive feelings set off inflammation, but it's a powerful indication that the two are biologically connected, and a damaging combination."

IED is common with strong genetic underpinnings. Lots of potentially dangerous people walking around waiting to explode. The first rage happens in adolescence. So these dangerous people could be tagged as dangerous pretty early.

IED outbursts are out of proportion to the social stressors triggering them. Such blow-ups may at first be written off by friends as "simple bad behavior," Coccaro said, "but intermittent explosive disorder goes beyond that. It has strong genetic and biomedical underpinnings. This is a serious mental health condition that can and should be treated."

IED is common. In 2006 Coccaro and colleagues at Harvard Medical School found that the disorder affects up to 5 percent of adults, or about 16 million Americans, in their lifetimes. Typically, the first episode of rage occurs in adolescence, around age 13 for males and age 19 for females.

It would be helpful to know who the IED people are. Imagine an ear implant that will whisper to you when an IED person (or any convicted felon) is near. That would be useful.

Blood tests could screen for IED potential.

Both CRP and IL-6 levels were higher, on average, in subjects with IED, compared to either psychiatric or normal controls. Average CRP levels, for example, were twice as high for those with IED as for normal healthy volunteers. Both markers were particularly elevated in subjects who had the most extensive histories of aggressive behaviors. Each marker independently correlated with aggression, the authors note, suggesting that "both have unique relations with aggression."

Earlier studies have pointed to connections between an inflammatory response and depression or stress, said Coccaro. Healthy people who have been exposed to endotoxins which set off a powerful immune reaction have a much more robust brain reaction to exposure to social threat, such as photographs of an angry or fearful face, than those who were not exposed to endotoxin.

Other biological markers associated with criminality exist, for example, low resting heart rate. See Adrian Raine's book The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 December 21 01:00 PM 

Wolf-Dog said at December 21, 2013 1:54 PM:

Several kinds of inflammation are related to neurological problems.

For instance, Helicobacter Pylori, which is responsible for 90 % of stomach ulcers, is found in a high percentage of Alzheimer's Disease patients.
" Abstract
The authors investigated the association between Helicobacter pylori infection (Hp-I) and Alzheimer disease (AD) by using histology for diagnosis of Hp-I. Fifty patients with AD and 30 iron deficiency anemic control participants without AD were included. The histologic prevalence of Hp-I was 88% in patients with AD and 46.7% in controls (p "

(But note that in the US much less than 46 % of the population is infected by Helicobacter Plyori, the reason for this high percentage of infection in the above article is that the tested control group was already old, the rate of infection increases with age.)

As if this were not enough, this article also seems to imply that the standard antibiotic treatment for stomach ulcers, which eradicates Helicobacter Pylori, significantly reduces the survival rate in Alzheimer's patients:

Many infections, even the ordinary dental infections such as gingivitis are implicated for Alzheimer's disease.
Separately, it is known that Celiac disease (a severe form of gluten sensitivity, which includes wheat and many kinds of grains) causes antibodies that attack not only the small intestine, but also the nervous system, leading to severe damage in the long run.

Wolf-Dog said at December 21, 2013 2:04 PM:

Typographical error: I should have said that eradication of the Helicobacter Pylori infection increases the survival rate of Alzheimer's disease patients, instead of reducing the rate of survival.

Tim Hogan said at December 22, 2013 9:57 AM:

Next up: A new classification for mental disorder called "multidimensionalmetasarcasmsimulatedragedysfunction" or "MMSS....." shortened up. With direct causation from and not mere correlation with even short term contact with studies like this and blogs that use them like endotoxin injections to get a reaction. Does anybody have some metaphorical sand that I can pound?

There is another much more serious disorder lurking behind and motivating studies like this with tragic societal consequences. But it does not really exist "yet" because currently it is nameless.

Peter said at December 30, 2013 9:59 AM:

"It would be helpful to know who the IED people are."

Yeah, then we could avoid hiring them, or worse, seek them out to hire.

But first we will need a(n inter)national database of personal information and the ability for everybody to query that database from our mobile devices.

Guidance counselors could steer them into careers in law enforcement. Petty criminals could know who to refrain from mugging.

Uncommon said at January 4, 2014 7:19 AM:

Genes and environment together predispose to violent inclination.

Low resting heart rate is common in marathoners.

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