Sunday, July 13, 2014

Can Psychopaths Be Cured?

Posted by Ross Pomeroy July 11, 2014

TO THE BEST of our knowledge, there is no cure for psychopathy. No pill can instill empathy, no vaccine can prevent murder in cold blood, and no amount of talk therapy can change an uncaring mind. For all intents and purposes, psychopaths are lost to the normal social world.

But that hasn't stopped the scientists who study psychopaths from trying to bring them back. In 2012, Dr. Kent Kiehl, a psychologist at the University of Mexico and one of the foremost experts on psychopathy, discovered that psychopaths have reduced gray matter in the paralimbic system of the brain. His longtime suspicions were confirmed: Psychopaths -- who are unremorseful and antisocial -- have fundamentally different brains than the rest of us. The finding was replicated in psychopathic youth the following year. While the link between brain structure and psychopathy is correlational, the youth data strongly suggested that the stunted paralimbic system is present from birth.

Kiehl was proud of the discovery and the hard work that realized it, but saddened by the accompanying implications.

"It was if my lab had discovered a new disorder, but we didn't have a cure," Kiehl lamented in his new book, The Psychopath Whisperer.   MORE

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