Pharmaceuticals, Brain Dysfunction and Violence

"Details continue to emerge about the lonely life of [Virginia Tech] killer Seung-Hui Cho, who had a history of mental illness. Among Cho's effects, officials found prescription medications related to the treatment of psychological problems.....There are dozens of other examples of violence at schools and the presence of antidepressants, but the carnage hardly is limited to our campuses. Countless families have been destroyed around the world through homicides and suicides committed by adults on antidepressants.....The list (which can be found at encompasses hundreds and hundreds of cases.....Most antidepressant drugs, including Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro and Effexor, are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which alter brain chemistry in an attempt to manage depression......A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, and that antidepressant use has nearly tripled in the past decade...." - Ty Phillips, Modesto Bee, April 29, 2007

"Despite efforts to curb drug companies' avid courting of doctors, the industry is working harder than ever to influence what medicines they prescribe, sending out sales representatives with greater frequency and plying physicians with gifts, meals and consulting fees, according to several new papers. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found that 94 percent of doctors have some type of relationship with the drug industry -- most commonly accepting free food or drug samples, which about 80 percent of physicians did.....28 percent said they had been paid for consulting, giving lectures or signing up patients for clinical trials......"We now know that virtually every doctor in the United States has some form of relationship with the pharmaceutical industry," said Eric G. Campbell, lead researcher of the New England Journal of Medicine study and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "They are common. A quarter receive honoraria or some form of payment for their services, and that was much higher than we expected." - Christopher Lee, Washington Post, April 29, 2007

"The researchers found dysfunction in common brain regions in reviews of brain imaging data from 41 murderers, from a study group suffering from aggressive impulsive personality disorder, and from a group diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. They also reviewed data from two individuals who suffered early damage to the two regions of the brain in question. Those individuals, injured early in life, both showed histories of verbal and physical abusiveness and intermittent, explosive bursts of anger. The research paper also described a large group of subjects who have a genetic deficit that causes a disruption in the brain's serotonin levels. The serotonin system employs many of the brain regions described earlier and a disruption of the system has been linked to increased aggression. Davidson's analysis showed that these emotion-controlling brain regions showed less activity in the individuals who carried this genetic abnormality. Davidson stresses that the research points to both genetics and poor environmental history as potential contributors to impulsive violence, and together they present a "double whammy" that put people at much greater risk. "These parts of the brain are particularly responsive to experiential shaping," Davidson says." - Science Daily, August 15, 2000

"A retrospective study of brain investigations of 372 male patients in a maximum- security mental hospital patients is described......In the most violent group, 20% had focal temporal electrical abnormalities on EEG (slowing and/or sharp waves) and 41% had structural abnormalities localised to temporal lobe on CT....These results suggest that high violence rating scores are associated with temporal lobe abnormalities on CT and abnormal temporal electrical discharges on EEG." - MT Wong et al, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, August 1994

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

A significant portion of the US population is now using multiple prescription drugs and vaccines from infancy through adulthood, even though there has never been an evaluation of multiple drug and vaccine use in humans to determine the effect on long term physical and mental health. If Americans have become drug and vaccine junkies, then medical doctors who promote and prescribe biological and chemical products made and sold by the pharmaceutical industry have become their suppliers. Although drugs and vaccine(s) prescribed (or mandated) by doctors can sometimes cause profound negative changes in brain and immune function, there is little effort made by the pharmaceutical industry and doctors profiting from mass drug and vaccine use to evaluate potential negative effects or take steps to minimize them.

Vaccine induced brain inflammation, which has been the hallmark of severe reactions since the first vaccine - smallpox vaccine - was used on a mass basis can be mild or severe and damage the developing brain of a child, permanently altering behavior, personality, intelligence, emotional stability, and physical ability. Drug induced chemical changes in the brain can also negatively affect important aspects of normal brain function. Instead of spending more research dollars to create new drugs and vaccines, the pharmaceutical industry should first find out why drug and vaccine complications occur and who is at high risk for suffering them.

An epidemic of chronic physical illness and disability, along with an epidemic of depression and violent behavior, in American children and young adults has developed during the past quarter century. Although economic and social factors influence health and behavior, the possibility that environmental insults are causing significant damage to brain and immune function in a growing minority of children is very real. Too much prescription drug and vaccine use cannot be discounted as one of those environmental insults, which could result in greater or lesser damage, depending upon genetic and other biological variables.

If a substantial minority of violent inmates in prisons and mental institutions are brain damaged, we ignore at our peril the potential role that prescription drug and vaccine-induced brain dysfunction plays in the epidemic of chronic illness and violent behavior plaguing America. We owe it to future generations to find out just how big that role may be before more drugs and vaccines are prescribed and the epidemic gets worse.

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