from the archives - zinc
Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posted Feb 23, 2002 at 4:19:56 PM
Subject: from the archives - zinc
It is amazing sometimes the odd corners a person can find information in.
I was reading a book published by Reader's Digest called Facts & Fallacies, copyright 1988, an anthology of strange and unusual stories. I have leafed thru it several times, but never sat down and given it a cover to cover. I have many books like this, science, history, sociology, etc. that contain small snippets from nearly all areas of interest, and when I decide I would like to do a little light reading, I can pick one up, open to any page, and read for a few minutes to several hours, depending upon my mood and what other distractions or chores I may have competing for my attention.
So it was today I opened this book, and as that strange prankster Fate would have it, the third story I read is the one below. It is almost creepy the way things keep coming back to Autism and ADD. Perhaps it is just that I am so in tune to these topics, who can say. After I read the article, and then hurriedly typed it up, I googled to get follow up material. I clipped those URL's which seemed to hold the most promise, and placed them below.
For those of us who have been investigating trace minerals and toxic metals in conjunction with LD's, particularly autism and ADD, this will come as confirmation of what we have already read or been told. For those who have not looked into the bio-medical aspects of this, it may be news. I encourage all to look into this further, and see if there is something here which may be helpful in remediating your child, sibling, spouse or self.
People have long puzzled over what factors go into the making of a criminal personality. In the past, some psychiatrists, psychologists, and criminologists have attributed it to a deprived upbringing. But recent studies indicate that violent and antisocial behavior can be caused by chemical imbalances in the body.
How did this line of investigation start? Surprisingly enough, with a chess game.
When a team of scientists challenged a team of long term offenders at Stateville State Prison in Joliet, IL to a friendly game of chess in 1972 they did not expect the inmates to beat them. Nursing their sore egos, the experts - all from the Argonne National Laboratory at the University of Chicago - demanded a rematch. Other games followed and friendships between the two sides sprang up. One of the scientists, chemist William J Walsh, began to wonder "why such nice people could have done such terrible things."
Abandoning some long held "bad environment" theories, Walsh mustered a group of 20 volunteer chemists, statisticians, physicians, and computer analysts and began to search for clues to violent behavior in body chemistry. The questions the group asked was: do violent people have biochemical characteristics that are different from those of non-violent people?
At first the scientists searched for answers by analyzing blood and urine. But the results were too inconsistent to be useful, since these fluids are affected by diet.
The breakthrough came in 1976 when the Walsh team began to use hair analysis, a method also being employed by scientists at McGill U. in Montreal. Convinced that hair was the ideal medium for his work - he believed that it would retain a higher concentration of trace metals than blood would - Walsh and his colleagues spent several years collecting hair samples and analyzing them in terms of their metal content.
When funds from the Argonne Lab ran out in 1980, Walsh and his fellow scientists set up their own specialized unit, The Health Research Institute. Their first experiment was a controlled study involving 24 pairs of brothers, ages 8 to 18. Each pair consisted of one delinquent and one non-delinquent boy. All the subjects lived with their parents and ate the same food, so environmental distinctions were minimized.
Hair samples were taken from each of the 48 boys and tested for 11 elements: calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, phosphorous, lead, and cadmium. Concentrations of the se trace metals were found to be 10 to 100 times higher in hair than they had been in blood or in urine.
The violent subjects had far higher levels of metals in their hair than the nonviolent ones, as had been anticipated. But the results of further tests were extremely surprising.
Expecting to find two patterns of behavior, one for the violent and one for the non-violent, the scientists instead uncovered two patterns for the violent brothers alone. Those in the Type A category (also observed in hyperactive children) appear to be law-abiding until something snaps, and they can commit vicious violence. The Type B pattern was different. Those with this behavior are antisocial and chronically in conflict with authority.
Armed with these results, the Walsh team decided on a more complex experiment involving 96 former convicts, prison inmates and delinquent youths with extremely violent history, and 96 non-violent males. This time the results were consistent with those of the previous experiments.
Hair analyses divided the violent group into either Type A or Type B personalities, supporting the theory that the se people suffer from two types of chemical imbalances. Since that time Walsh has added a Type C and a Type D category to include patterns found among the mildly violent.
The Gentle Approach
The implications of Walsh's analysis were far reaching. If a link was found between chemical imbalances in the hair and violence, a similar correlation might exist between such imbalances and hyperactivity, alcoholism or learning disabilities, for example. Biochemical screening in conjunction with other methods might, therefore, be used to diagnose such problems.
Walsh has now turned his attention to the therapeutic possibilities of his work. At the Brain Bio Center, near Princeton, NJ, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer has been combining Walsh's data with his own therapy, prescribing vitamin and mineral supplements in place of drugs to correct chemical imbalances in criminals.
Although no formal study of the results has been made, encouraging reports have come back from those treated for violence. As interest in Walsh's pioneer work grows, science may one day help transform violence into constructive behavior.
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