Pedophilia may be the result of faulty brain wiring

MRIs link pedophilia to problems in brain development

Nov 28, 2007, 00:00 ET from Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

    TORONTO, Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ - Pedophilia might be the result of
 faulty connections in the brain, according to new research released by the
 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study used MRIs and a
 sophisticated computer analysis technique to compare a group of pedophiles
 with a group of non-sexual criminals. The pedophiles had significantly less
 of a substance called "white matter" which is responsible for wiring the
 different parts of the brain together.
     The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatry Research, challenges
 the commonly held belief that pedophilia is brought on by childhood trauma
 or abuse. This finding is the strongest evidence yet that pedophilia is
 instead the result of a problem in brain development.
     Previous research from this team has strongly hinted that the key to
 understanding pedophilia might be in how the brain develops. Pedophiles
 have lower IQs, are three times more likely to be left-handed, and even
 tend to be physically shorter than non-pedophiles.
     "There is nothing in this research that says pedophiles shouldn't be
 held criminally responsible for their actions," said Dr. James Cantor, CAMH
 Psychologist and lead scientist of the study, "Not being able to choose
 your sexual interests doesn't mean you can't choose what you do."
     This discovery suggests that much more research attention should be
 paid to how the brain governs sexual interests. Such information could
 potentially yield strategies for preventing the development of pedophilia.
     A total of 127 men participated in the study; approximately equal
 numbers of pedophiles and non-sexual offenders.
     The Kurt Freund Laboratory at CAMH was established in 1968 and remains
 one of the world's foremost centers for the research and diagnosis of
 pedophilia and other sexual disorders.
     The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is one of the leading
 addiction and mental health organizations in North America and Canada's
 largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. Integrating clinical
 care, scientific research, education, policy development and health
 promotion, CAMH transforms the lives of people impacted by mental health
 and addiction issues.
     CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization
 Collaborating Centre, and is fully affiliated with the University of

SOURCE Centre for Addiction and Mental Health