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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2013;41(3):401-6.

Psychosis-related matricide associated with a lesion of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

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Centro de Investigación Avanzada en Educación Universidad de Chile, Periodista José Carrasco Tapia N°75, Santiago, Chile.


Matricide, the killing of a mother by her biological child, is a rare event. We report a case of matricide associated with a woman who sustained a right ventromedial prefrontal lesion during surgery for nasal polyposis that was performed when she was 40 years old. After her surgery, she developed psychotic symptoms associated with the emergence of antisocial behavior. She committed matricide 22 years later. Neuropsychological evaluation showed decreased frontal-executive deficits, and magnetic resonance imaging revealed a lesion in the right gyrus rectus area of the ventromedial prefrontal region. This case suggests that a secondary psychotic syndrome associated with a lesion in the frontal neural network, which is disturbed in psychopathy, could facilitate homicidal behavior. Furthermore, this case has legal implications for the prosecution of murder associated with a brain lesion.

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