Using functional magnetic imaging, a Yale University team found that paedophiles have distinct differences in brain activity compared to the general population. When shown adult, erotic material, paedophiles had less activity in the hypothalamus, which is known to play a role in arousal and hormone release.
The findings, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, are the first to provide real-time evidence of differences in paedophiles' thought patterns, BBC News reported.
"Our findings may thus be seen as the first step towards establishing a neurobiology of paedophilia which ultimately may contribute to the development of new and effective means of therapies for this debilitating disorder," said lead researcher Dr Georg Northoff.
Journal editor Dr John Krystal said he didn't know if the pattern of different brain activity noted in this study could be used to predict a person's risk of paedophilia, BBC News reported.
The findings do "provide clues to the complexity of this disorder, and this deficit (in brain activity) may predispose individuals who are vulnerable to paedophilia to seek other forms of stimulation," Krystal said. – (HealthDayNews)
Compulsive sex and its treatment