Saturday, February 18, 2012

Brains scans show child abuse

NewScientist reports:
Maltreatment of children may stunt growth of the hippocampus, a brain region vital for memory. That's the conclusion of a study of 193 outwardly healthy adults aged 18 to 25 from the Boston area.

The stunted hippocampi could help explain how childhood stress raises the risk of psychiatric disorders in adulthood, ranging from depression, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder to personality disorders, drug addiction and even suicide.

Martin Teicher of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and colleagues used standard questionnaires to reveal which volunteers had suffered abuse as children, and found size differences in regions of the hippocampus through detailed MRI brain scans.

Big differences were seen in people who said that as children they had experienced verbal, physical or sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, bereavement, parental separation or parental discord. Three sub-regions of the hippocampus were between 5.8 and 6.5 per cent smaller in such volunteers, compared with those who reported no maltreatment.
It would be great if this were really true, and child abuse could be diagnosed with brain scans. An objective test would end the horrible disputes over child abuse, just as DNA tests have ended the disputes over paternity.

(Yes, I know that there are men who are paying child support even after DNA tests prove that they are not the dads. But that inequity is obvious to everyone, and should be on the way out.)

But we are not going to get brain scans for child abuse anytime soon. The scientific literature is filled with exaggerated claims about brain scans. The cannot diagnose schizophrenia, depression, homosexuality, or anything else like that from brain scans. Instead these studies will just be used to emphasize the importance of fighting child abuse. The court testimony will be something like this:

CPS: We have to take the child because science has proved that this child abuse causes permanent brain damage.
Q: How do you know it causes brain damage?
CPS: Studies of brain scans have proved it.
Q: So how much damage do the brain scans show on this kid?
CPS: Nothing so far. That's why we have to take the kid now.

The judges are stupid (and evil) enough to fall for an argument like this.


Anonymous said...

CPS, etc. aren't stupid, they are evil and greedy. The way they manipulate statistics and studies, reminds me of the saying,
"torture statistics / studies, long enough and you can get them to admit to anything you want them to."

George said...

Yes, I believe that they are evil, and that they they are determine to destroy the American family. Some of my readers think that they are just stupid or greedy.

Anonymous said...

They are "stupid like a fox." How stupid can these folks be if they're raking in so much money ?

Yes, thy're out to destroy the American family, but why ? Don't you think that it's just because they're's a huge financial opportunity in it for them vs. trying to keep famlies together ?

George said...

No, it is not just greed. They are ideologically determined to destroy the American family.

Anonymous said...

What's their end goal in destroying the families ?

George said...

Good question. I have posted before on this topic, and I will post some more.

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