Brain Injuries Linked to Later Violence

Recent studies indicate that there is a link between violent behavior and brain injuries. Although it is not easy to eliminate other factors that could cause the aggressive behavior, the studies showed that common underlying problems like drug abuse or a history of violence were not prevalent in enough cases to create a pattern. Brain injuries, on the other hand, seemed to present a much clearer commonality between many of the people who had behaved violently.

Injuries Cause Cognitive and Emotional Problems

Doctors have been aware that brain injuries can create long-term emotional and physical problems for patients. People who have suffered a brain injury may experience memory loss, depression, impulsive behavior and trouble with reasoning. Researchers are now finding that aggression and violent behavior are additional side effects of severe brain injuries.

The results of the study pointed to brain injury as a common indicator for violent behavior after the researchers adjusted their findings based on gender, race and other factors that might have caused a shift in the results. Recent brain injuries were the only constant among the study participants who exhibited violent behavior.[1]

Prison Study Expanded to General Public

One study looked at a prison population to determine what might cause some prisoners to behave more violently than others. Researchers discovered that many of the most violent offenders had suffered brain injury in the past. Once completed, the study looked at other populations to determine whether the findings translated to the general population. After following a group of high school students for nine years, researchers found that the students who had suffered brain injuries reported a much higher number of violent experiences than those students who had not suffered brain injuries.[2]

Risk of Violent Behavior Diminishes Over Time

The research also shows that the risk of heightened aggression and violence is most severe in the first year after the brain injury. The aggression seems to diminish as the patient continues to heal. Although the tendency toward violence never subsides entirely, it gradually lessens as time passes. It is important to monitor a patient often during the first few years after severe brain injury. Side effects like violent behavior are most likely to surface during that time. As the brain heals, problems diminish in most individuals.

More Studies Pending

Researchers plan to perform more detailed studies regarding the links between violent behavior and head injuries. The recent studies did not provide enough information about the severity of the head injuries or the length of time needed for violent behavior to diminish. Future studies will help doctors understand what to expect and how to protect patients and those around them from possible side effects of head injuries.

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If you or someone you love suffers from traumatic brain injury, contact our office. We employ a staff of knowledgeable attorneys who will meet with you free of charge to discuss your case. If appropriate, we will help you file a claim against the wrongdoer to compensate you for your damages.


[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/02/us-head-injuries-idUSTRE75101D20110602

[2] http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/02/news/la-heb-head-injuries-violence-20110602

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