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|