Vol. 1, No. 4 , 1995, Page 4


A number of Crime Times readers have written to request information on specific criminal behaviors, and their possible biological roots. This occasional column is a response to such requests.


Two of our readers recently inquired about research regarding pedophilia and other sex crimes. Shortly after their letters arrived, we received a research paper on the treatment of iron deficiency in an adolescent who committed sexual offenses against young children (See Crime Times, Vol. 1, No. 4, Page 7).

Additionally, we recently obtained a copy of Tourette Syndrome and Human Behavior, by David E. Comings, M.D. (Hope Press, Duarte, CA, 1990), in which the author devotes an entire chapter to the high incidence of aberrant sexual behaviors among individuals with Tourette's syndrome. Tourette's, a genetic disorder, also causes tics such as grunting or jerking, and behavioral problems including depression, obsessive- compulsive behaviors, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and sometimes coprolalia (uncontrollable swearing).

In one study Comings cites, Roswell Eldridge et al. questioned 50 patients with Tourette's, and found that 32 percent exhibited inappropriate sexual activities. An earlier study by Eldridge and colleagues found that 12 of 21 patients with Tourette's had "troublesome sexual and aggressive impulses." Behaviors seen by Comings and colleagues in patients include exhibitionism (in about six percent of patients studied) and child molestation.

Comings cites a number of cases in which treatment with Haldol or pimozide completely extinguished abnormal sexual behaviors -- an important finding, since such behaviors are generally resistant to treatment.

Another treatable disorder linked to inappropriate sexual behavior is Wilson's disease (hepatolenticular degeneration), a fairly rare genetic disorder in which toxic levels of copper accumulate in the body. A 1992 article by George Brewer and Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan, in Medicine, noted that psychiatric symptoms including exhibitionism are common in Wilson's sufferers -- and that the disease is frequently missed by physicians.

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