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NCJ Number: 70991 Find in a Library
Title: Disease and Criminality
Journal: Muenchener Medizinische Wochenschrift  Volume:110  Issue:34  Dated:(August 23, 1968)  Pages:1869-1873
Author(s): A Mergen
Date Published: 1968
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: The relationship between disease and crime is considered in this German journal article.
Abstract: Disease and crime are uncertain, relative concepts. In the legal sense, neither criminal behavior nor crime itself is a disease; however, some correlations are demonstrable between certain diseases and criminal acts. For example, modern chromosome research and studies of offenders have revealed relationships between chromosome types and criminal proclivity. Chromatin-positive men (those with Klinefelter-syndrome and XXY chromosomes) frequently have aggressive tendencies, and those with XYY chromosomes display such tendencies to an even greater degree. Compared with the general population, criminals are 70 times more likely to have XXYY chromosomes, and 50 times more likely to have the XYY type. Offenders with XYY chromosomes commit their first offenses between the ages of 10 and 14. Their criminal behavior occurs only sporadically -- they have difficulty controlling their drives -- but their behavior and intelligence appear to be otherwise normal. The aggressive tendencies may be linked to minimum brain damages, as some English studies have suggested. Relationships between crime and disease have also been found in other areas: neurone disturbances appear to result in criminal tendencies; brain damage has been shown to be present in a high percentage of offenders; and criminal behavior has been shown to be often the first noticeable symptom of psychosis. However, any efforts to demonstrate relationships between disease and crime are senseless as long as criminal behavior has not been scientifically, rather than juristically, defined. Until then, crime will remain a relative concept, linked more closely to social norms than to pathological problems. A reference list is not included. --in German.
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Chromosomal abnormalities; Genetic influences on behavior; Germany; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime
Note: Based on a lecture given at the 2nd course in Sociomedicine, Munich, April-May 1968
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