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BIOL 2P92 (117)

Behavioural Measures

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Ingrid Makus

Using both behavioural and physiological measures to assess interactions between spouse abusers and their wives found two types of abusers: (1) a distressed group characterised by high levels of arousal and likely to restrict their violence to the family context (ie domestically violent batterers); and (2) a psychopathic group with exceptionally low levels of arousal who have general and anti-social tendencies that operate inside and outside the family context (ie generally violent batterers. SEE TABLE 4.2 PAGE 117 ***** BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT: BRAIN IMAGING – “SEEING” THE BRAIN: CT-Scan: helps to asses structural brain abnormalities. A moving beam of X-rays passes into a horizontal cross-section of the patient’s brain, scanning it through 360 degrees; The moving X-ray detector on the other side measures the amount of radioactivity that penetrates, thus detecting subtle differences in tissue density; A computer uses the information to construct a 2-D , detailed image of the cross-section, giving it optimal contrasts, then the patient’s head is moved, and the machine scans another cross-section of the brain; The resulting images can show the enlargement of ventricles, which signals degeneration of tissue and the locations of tumours and blood clots. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): is superior to the CT scan because it produces pictures of higher quality and does not rely on even the smallest amount of radiation. The person is placed inside a arge, circular magned, which causes the hydrogen atoms in the body to move. When the magnetic force is turned off, the atoms return to their original positions and thereby produce an electromagnetic signal. These signals are then read by the computer and translated into pictures of brain tissue. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): allows researchers to take MRI pictures so quickly that metabolic changes can be measured, providing a picture of the brain at work rather than of its structure alone. Clarified the mechanisms involved in auditory hallucinations by showing that they stem jointly from aberrant activation of the auditory cortex and the misinterpreted inner speech of the patient with schizophrenia. fMRI may prove useful in determining the mechanisms related to changes that occur during cognitive-behavioural therapy (eg; OCD) Positron Emission Tomography (PET): A more expensive and invasive procedure, allows measurement of brain function. A substance used by the brain is labelled with a short-lived radioactive isotope and injected into the bloodstream. Visual images of the working brain can indicate sites of epileptic seizures, brain cancers, strokes and trauma from head injuries, as well as the distribution of psychoactive drugs in the brain. Clinical Utility of Biological Assessment Measures Of Brain Structure and Function: The clinical utility of biological assessment measures was clearly illustrated in a study by Hentschel et Al, that was conducted with 100 patients referred to a university clinic because of memory difficulties (see figure 4.4, page 119). NEUROCHEMICAL ASSESSMENT: In port-mortem studies , the brains of deceased patients are removed and the amount of specific neurotransmitters in particular brain areas can then be directly measured. Different brain areas can then be directly
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