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Scientists find brain differences in pedophiles

DW.Com

Although sexual abuse of children is not tolerated in any society, the reasons why pedophiles pursue their urges remain unclear. A team of German scientists has been looking in the brain for answers.

Researchers at the sexual medicine department at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH) have publicized specific findings about the brains of pedophiles. In their research, they are using magnetic resonance tomography (MRT), an imaging process that creates cross-section images of body parts - allowing doctors to see directly into patient's brains.

Though international research is being carried out in France, Canada, and Scandinavia, there are few studies on the function of the brain, pointed out psychologist and psychotherapist Jorge Ponseti.

"MRT offers the ideal conditions for investigating the activity and structure of the brain," he said. "The wonderful thing is that - without having to cut open the head - we can see with great spatial precision which regions of the brain are more active and which aren't."

Below-average intelligence

Within an association of five research institutes searching for the causes of pedophilia, the team at the UKSH is the only one working with magnetic resonance tomography (MRT).

This use of MRT has enlarged the understanding of pedophilia. Doctors have now identified a number of signs that can point to a successful diagnosis: "Pedophiles show a string of neuropsychological characteristics," said Ponseti. "For example, their intelligence quotient is about 8 percentage points lower than the average."

Though pedophilia has major impacts, its causes remain unknown "It's also interesting that the age of the victim is related to the IQ of the abuser," he added. "So the dumber the criminal, the younger the child."

Apart from that, there is evidence that pedophiles are physically smaller than average, and Canadian investigators have found that the average pedophile suffered twice as many head injuries in his childhood than average.

Illness or sexual orientation?

The work done in Kiel depends on strict anonymity. For that reason, the University Medical Center was equipped with a hotline and a special Internet portal.

"That was important, because not every pedophile abuses children and becomes a criminal," said Ponseti - though he admits that it's difficult for the parent of a victim to accept the distinction. Many people don't know that doctors classify pedophilia as an illness, though only if the person or another suffers as a result of the urges. "According to the new American psychiatric classification system, a person is only classified as a pedophile if that person acts on their sexual attraction to children - or at least suffers from the fact that they have this attraction," said Ponseti. "If he has this attraction without abusing a child, then we can call it a sexual orientation."

All the tests in Kiel happen in the Medical Center's neurological center, where computer images of sexually aroused heterosexual brains are stored. The images show active brain regions, lit up an intense red-orange color as strong blood flow causes high oxygen content.

MRT imaging is used to track brain activity

"You can see the reward center very clearly on these pictures," explained Ponseti. "In the visual cortex further down, a stronger visual analysis happens as soon as an adult heterosexual man sees a woman of the same age. The exact same regions activate in a pedophile's brain when they see a naked child."

In order to test this, every subject is shown various images - including cars, houses, holiday scenes, and images meant to arouse pedophiles. Initially the MRT image shows only typical black-and-white blocks. Only a complicated algorithm allows the doctors to make their assessment. Pedophile - yes or no?

"We calculate the activation of a single brain in relation to the average group activation," explained Ponseti. "In comparison to other subjects, we can then recognize whether a particular subject is a pedophile or not. And we were correct in 95 percent of cases."

As well as through brain activity, the researchers also use imaging processes to find differences in brain structure. With special programs on tablet PCs, the doctors test impulsivity and empathy. "If we also carry out blood tests and make genetic and neurotransmitter analyses, maybe we will begin to track down the mystery of pedophilia," Ponseti said.

"The MRT can tell us who is a pedophile - but, unfortunately, not why."

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EXCLUSIVE: Family of 7th Heaven star Stephen Collins fear he's on the brink of suicide over pedophile claims, as stunned former cast member laments 'he was the glue that held us together'

The family of Stephen Collins fear the 7th Heaven star is on the brink of suicide over shocking allegations he molested several underage girls.

The actor, who played a beloved pastor on the hit family friendly show, has been left distraught after his taped confessions made during a marriage therapy session were made public.

Now those closest to the 67-year-old are deeply concerned the star has hit rock bottom and fear he may harm himself.

'His family by no means condone what he's said to have done, but it doesn't stop them worrying about him,' a close family friend told MailOnline.

'They fear he could take his own life. That's how low he is right now. No one wants to leave him by himself.'

His estranged wife Faye Grant has now claimed that Collins even had incestuous thoughts about their only child when she was pregnant.

She says just before giving birth, he told her how glad he was they were having a girl, who they named Kate, instead of a boy who he may have abused.

'The comment you made just before I gave birth to our daughter when you said you hoped we didn't have a little boy, because "you just didn't know if you could keep his little penis out of your mouth" was indication enough that you were sick,' Grant wrote in an email obtained by TMZ.

'I should have followed my gut then, and then again 14 years ago, and kicked your ass to the curb,' she added.

But a source close to Collins told the gossip site that the allegations are 'absolutely untrue,' that he never received that email and Grant never brought these claims up during their contentious divorce proceedings.

According to court papers obtained by MailOnline, Grant is attempting to indemnify herself and the divorce settlement from settlement any civil action stemming from the pediphelia charges.

Ar stake is property worth $13million including over $5 million in real estate and Collins' $100,000 worth of vintage guitars.

On top of that, a Massachusetts woman who worked as a nanny in New York in the 1990s, in the same building as Collins, has come forward to reveal his strange daily visits in pajamas and the 'semi-pornographic novel' he was writing.

The woman named Ilene called into Boston radio station Mix 104.1 Wednesday morning.

The family source says cast and crew of 7th Heaven - the popular long-running family drama which ended in 2007 - are in 'shock' over the bombshell claims.

In an interview with MailOnline, a cast member, who asked not to be identified, said, 'I'm very confused right now. Knowing Stephen the way I do, I find it hard to put this together.

'He wasn't that guy. He wasn't someone with secrets and angst. He was always very present with us. Fun and teasing. All we did is laugh all day long at work and a lot of it was because of him. He's not that guy to me.

'He took care of me and all of us during those years. He really was a father figure. Taught us to read music a little bit and would make up songs for any occasion for us. He was our glue that held us together. Our rock.

'We all had dinner together a few months ago. If this is true, it's disturbing because there was no outside appearance of problems. He never did anything sneaky when I knew him and I saw him every day.

'It must be buried in him. I wish him the best of luck to make it through this. I hope he goes to rehab and comes out the same role model rock star that we know him as.'

Collins, who famously played Reverend Eric Camden, the virtuous father-of-seven, is currently being investigated for child molestation.

An NYPD official confirmed to MailOnline that they had received a complaint and the Special Victims Squad is investigating.

And the LAPD is also reviewing their own 2012 investigation into Collins, and will be collaborating with New York authorities.

Law enforcement in California received the therapy session recordings two years ago but closed their case after finding 'no verified victim'.

In the recorded therapy session, Collins seemingly admits that he exposed himself to several young girls between the ages of 10 and 13 in both Los Angeles and New York.

Following the tapes released by TMZ on Tuesday, Collins life and career have been falling apart as he resigned from his position on the Screen Actors Guild board and was fired from the film Ted 2. Reruns of 7th Heaven are not being broadcast and he will no longer appear on the hit TV show Scandal.

LAPD officers rushed to Tarzana, California, after getting a 911 call about a shot fired inside Collins' house last night. Collins' neighbor, former Playboy model and Baywatch star Donna D'Errico, tweeted just after 8pm PT that the actor shot himself

It turned out to be a false alarm sparked by a member of the media who heard a loud pop

The actor allegedly made a written confession to his now ex-wife Faye Grant in 2012, which sparked the therapy session.

Grant secretly recorded the session under the advisement of her lawyer, who told her it was legal in California to record conversations in order to gather evidence on a person who has committed a violent felony.

And in explosive court documents Grant reveals she was 'sickened' after her husband allegedly confessed to living a vile 'secret life' in which he abused several children.

She claims the actor used his celebrity status to prey on underage girls and 'engender the trust of the families of the children he molested' in a decade of abuse.

Ironically Collins starred in the 1996 Lifetime movie The Babysitter's Seduction in which he played a recently widowed dad who becomes obsessed with his childrens' teenage babysitter, played by Keri Russell.

Devastated Grant also revealed Collins was treated for a sex addiction and was seeing a 'sexual dysfunction' therapist, but he refused to seek proper help or hospitalization for his 'predilection towards children', she said.

"The family feels absolutely betrayed by him. He's not the man they all thought he was and that's incredibly hurtful and confusing,' said the family source.

"With everything that has come to light they fear there could be other victims. There's so much that he has already hidden from everyone he's worked and lived with, they don't know what could come out next. Some are even wondering if he admitted everything he's done on those tapes, or if there's more he's keeping secret.

"The family are mortified and embarrassed. They remain concerned however for Stephen because they now know he has deep seeded issues.”

Yesterday cast and crew of 7th Heaven were said to be reeling over the news.

The family source, who knows several cast members and often visited the 7th Heaven set, said: 'No one had any idea. They had a reunion just last month and everyone loved it.

'There were never any signs Stephen had these issues. No one ever suspected a thing.

'Everyone who has worked with him has said he's amazing and lovely and one of the nicest guys ever.

'It's like the neighbors of the serial killer with bodies buried in the basement who always say, 'He was always such a nice guy'.

'We are all blown away by the revelations.'

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It is the secret dream of every Swedish or German woman to marry a black men, or at least have sex with a black man. Every smart young African man should migrate to Europe. Free money, nice house, good sex!

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Brain Transplant

Kind of an older trope, now largely superseded by Brain Uploading. A Brain Transplant is what happens when a Mad Scientist saws open your skull, removes your brain, and puts it in someone else's body. The details, such as how the transplanted brain interfaces with the new body's nervous system, or how immune rejection is bypassed, tend to be Hand Waved. In Real Life we don't yet have the technology to connect a brain from one person to the spinal cord of another, so at best this would result in an "And I Must Scream" situation.

Often involves a Brain in a Jar at some point.

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