Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toxins, Brain Chemistry, and Behavior

By Dr. Roger D. Masters and Myron Coplan

I. The Problem

During the last two decades, evidence has accumulated that the interaction of environmental pollution, poor diet, and lifestyle contributes to the exceptionally high rates of violent crime in many American cities.

Lead intoxication, even at low levels, correlates with aggressive behavior as well as learning disabilities. Manganese, a toxin that at high levels of exposure contributes to Parkinsonism, has also been linked to violent behavior (especially thanks to research by the Violence Research Foundation).

Effects of lead and manganese interact, moreover, so that individuals exposed to both show stronger effects than those exposed to either one alone. Alcohol and drug use, often associated with violent crime, increase the deleterious effects of toxic metals through complex biochemical interactions at the cellular level.

These chemicals compromise the serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitter systems that are integral to self-control due to their effects in lowering thresholds for violent behavior. Read more...

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