Brain Injury Location Tied to Higher Risk of Aggression

Prefrontal cortex

Found this the other day, via BIACACLC Brain Injury Ass’n on Twitterwhere you get injured in your brain can determine the risk of aggression.

Researcher Jordan Grafman, director of traumatic brain injury research at Kessler Foundation in New Jersey and his colleagues studied the aggression levels of 155 Vietnam War veterans who had suffered a penetrating traumatic brain injury, and divided them into aggressive and nonaggressive groups.

In the aggressive group, 79 percent were injured in their prefrontal cortex, whereas 21 percent were injured elsewhere in the brain, the study said.

But in the nonaggressive group, 47 percent were injured in the prefrontal cortex of the brain and 53 percent were injured elsewhere in the brain, according to the study.

“The locus of brain damage is important … as it will clue you in to the long-term risks to the social behavior of the patient,” Grafman said.

Read the whole piece here

This is an important consideration – where you get injured can affect how you express yourself after you’re injured.

But even knowing that can’t always guarantee that you’ll be able to predict what people will do and how they will behave. The brain, as we all know, is a tremendously complex organ and people express their personalities differently, so a similar injury may result in completely different behaviors, depending on the person.

Which just makes TBI even more annoyingly complex for people looking for a silver-bullet cure. If you can’t predict accurately how people will behave, how can you control that behavior? How can you manage it effectively with pills and such?

At the same time, for those of us not looking for a pill cure, it is encouraging to think that even if you do experience a TBI that messes up your prefrontal cortex, that’s not the end of the line for you, and you always have the possibility that you’ll be able to manage yourself better than expected or predicted. This kind of stuff happens all the time with medicine — the doctors say one thing (you’re going to die in three months) and then it doesn’t happen. It happens all the time in life — I don’t think the predestination people are right — or maybe they’re 100% on, and all our human prophecies amount to nothing in the face of what fate has in store for us.

In any case, this is interesting information that bears consideration – if only for the sake of giving us something to watch out for and better understand. Aggression is definitely a problem post TBI, and the more we know about it and understand it, the better.

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