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Psychiatry Res. 2002 Jun 15;114(2):95-102.

Prefrontal volumes in habitually violent subjects with antisocial personality disorder and type 2 alcoholism.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Kuopio University Hospital, 70211, Kuopio, Finland.


Pathology of the prefrontal cortices has been suggested to be a part of neural networks underlying deviant behavioral patterns. Recently, reduced overall prefrontal cortical volumes have been proposed in subjects with antisocial personality disorder (ASP). It is not known whether there are specific patterns of volume loss within the prefrontal regions. Nor is it known if there are correlations between the prefrontal volumes and degree of psychopathology. In this study, total prefrontal, prefrontal white, and cortical (dorsolateral, orbitofrontal, medial frontal) prefrontal volumes were measured from magnetic resonance images in 24 non-psychotic, violent male subjects who had a diagnosis of ASP in combination with type 2 alcoholism, and 33 age-matched control males. The degree of psychopathy in the ASP subjects was assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). Compared with the controls, the ASP subjects had significantly smaller volumes of all three cortical regions on the left, but this significance disappeared after controlling for differences in education and duration of alcoholism. For the dorsolateral and orbitofrontal cortices, only duration of alcoholism was significantly associated with the observed volume deficit, and for the medial frontal cortex it was the difference in education. Thus, the observed volume deficits in this sample were related more to alcoholism or differences in education rather than to the diagnosis of ASP. Moreover, no significant correlations between any of the volumes and the degree of psychopathy were found.

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