Glucose metabolism and recidivism of severe violent crimes in alcohol intoxications

Jun 01, 2009

It is commonly known that alcoholism and alcohol intoxications are connected with severe violent crimes such as homicides. For instance, in Finland even 80 per cent of these crimes happen in alcohol intoxications. It has not, however, been clear why only a minority of alcoholics in intoxications become irritated and impulsively aggressive or even commit severe violent crimes.

A Finnish study now finds that low glycogen level - which means non-oxidative glucose metabolism - predicts forthcoming violent offending among antisocial violent offender males in a prospective 8-year follow-up study. "Usually, the new violent crimes happened already during 1-2 years after the release from prisons and with the new starting problems of alcoholism", says Professor Matti Virkkunen, the corresponding author for the study.

Results of the study have been published in the June issue of the journal Psychiatry Research.

Glucose metabolism was measured using the insulin clamp / calorimetry method among 49 impulsive, violent, antisocial male offenders during a forensic psychiatric examination. Those 17 offenders who committed at least one new violent crime during the follow-up had mean NOG of 1.4 standard deviations lower than non-recidivistic offenders. Glycogen levels did not differ among nonrecidivists and 40 normal male controls. All offenders and normal male controls were in normal weight and did not differ in the age or in the basal metabolic index (BMI). Only the basal insulin level was higher among residivistic violent offenders. In logistic regression analysis NOG alone explained 27% of the variation in the recidivistic offending and so clearly better than other variables in the international violence research.

Possibly by means of hypoglycemic states the new violent crimes happen among these persons in alcohol intoxications when they have very low glycogen stores in the liver. The low activity of the enzyme glycogen synthesis is the probable reason for the finding. This might suggest that substances increasing glycogen formation and decreasing the risk of hypoglycemia might be potential treatments for impulsive violent behavior. Of course, also regular eating habits while drinking are important in the prevention of new violent crimes.

Source: University of Helsinki

Explore further: Women, poor, uninsured face higher risk of psychological distress: CDC

Related Stories

Female sex offenders often have mental problems

May 14, 2008

Women who commit sexual offences are just as likely to have mental problems or drug addictions as other violent female criminals. This according to the largest study ever conducted of women convicted of sexual offences in ...

Alcohol is a strong trigger of criminal violence

Dec 22, 2005

A study at Karolinska Institutet of 133 violent offenders in Sweden shows that 78 (58%) had consumed alcohol within 24 hours before the violent act. A large majority of the offenders were men with psychiatric ...

New research links teen alcohol use with suicide

Feb 04, 2008

Pre-teens who drink alcohol are substantially more likely to be involved in violent behavior as adolescents and young adults, according to new research from Georgia State University's Institute of Public Health.

Schizophrenia does not increase risk of violent crime

May 20, 2009

In the debate surrounding violent crimes referred to as "acts of madness" or the like, it is often assumed that the violence is a direct result of the perpetrator's mental illness. Previous research suggests that people with ...

Recommended for you

The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America

15 hours ago

Article Spotlight features summaries written in collaboration with authors of recently published articles by the Journals Program of the American Psychological Association. The articles are nominated by the editors as noteworthy ...

Demi Lovato gets vocal about mental illness

18 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Demi Lovato huddled in the back of her tour bus, eyes wet with tears as she watched a horde of fans streaming into the venue where she was about to play.

Acquiring 'perfect' pitch may be possible for some adults

18 hours ago

If you're a musician, this sounds too good to be true: University of Chicago psychologists have been able to train some adults to develop the prized musical ability of absolute pitch, and the training's effects ...

How men and women see each other when online dating

20 hours ago

In the world of online dating, nothing is as it seems. But that doesn't stop many of us from leaping to the wrong conclusions about people. A recent paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.