Monday, November 09, 2009

Torture, head injuries and mental illness

Hardly surprisingly many people who have suffered torture develop mental-health problems later and new research suggests that head injuries experienced while being tortured might also contribute to the development of mental illness. Researchers from Harvard University compared 42 Vietnamese immigrants who had been tortured in 're-education' camps with 15 Vietnamese immigrants who had not been detained. Those detainees with a history of head injury were more likely to have symptoms of depression and - when their brains were scanned - had significant reductions in the frontal and temporal lobes of their cerebral cortex. Those whose head injuries had been more severe had greater changes to their brains and more severe depression symptoms. Although those people with head injuries were at no greater risk of PTSD their symptoms were more severe.

You can find out more about this research at

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