Vol. 1, No. 1-2 , 1995, Page 7


If the link between serotonin and violent behavior is confirmed, it'll be good news for criminals and for the rest of us-because chemical imbalances, unlike many other causes of aberrant behavior, are potentially correctable.

We already know how to raise or lower serotonin levels in the brain, although current methods are "shotgun" approaches that frequently create serious side effects. The drug Prozac, for instance, works by enhancing serotonin's effects; but while it reduces depression, hostility, violence, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors in many people, it can cause side effects in some individuals ranging from nausea and headache to anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, and confusion.

While many scientists are attempting to develop serotonin-affecting drugs with fewer side effects, others are experimenting with more natural approaches. Richard Wurtman, of MIT, has found that high-carbohydrate, low-protein meals affect levels of serotonin, a clear indication that dietary changes may be an effective means of altering brain function and thus changing behavior. His findings, Wurtman has said, indicate that "the chemistry of your brain depends very much on what you ate for breakfast."

Return to:
[Author Directory] [Front Page] [Issue Index] [Subject Index] [Title Index]