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J Psychiatr Res. 2007 Nov;41(9):753-62. Epub 2006 Jul 31.

Structural brain abnormalities in the frontostriatal system and cerebellum in pedophilia.

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Department of Forensic Psychiatry, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Virchowstrasse 174, D-45147 Essen, Germany.


Even though previous neuropsychological studies and clinical case reports have suggested an association between pedophilia and frontocortical dysfunction, our knowledge about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying pedophilia is still fragmentary. Specifically, the brain morphology of such disorders has not yet been investigated using MR imaging techniques. Whole brain structural T1-weighted MR images from 18 pedophile patients (9 attracted to males, 9 attracted to females) and 24 healthy age-matched control subjects (12 hetero- and 12 homosexual) from a comparable socioeconomic stratum were processed by using optimized automated voxel-based morphometry within multiple linear regression analyses. Compared to the homosexual and heterosexual control subjects, pedophiles showed decreased gray matter volume in the ventral striatum (also extending into the nucl. accumbens), the orbitofrontal cortex and the cerebellum. These observations further indicate an association between frontostriatal morphometric abnormalities and pedophilia. In this respect these findings may support the hypothesis that there is a shared etiopathological mechanism in all obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders.

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