The Checkup: Psychiatrist Wants Boston Bomber’s Brain to Study ‘Biology of Violence’

Dr. Michael Craig Miller argues that Tamerlan Tsarnaev's brain could hold important information for researchers.


• This is interesting: A Boston psychiatrist published an op-ed in the Boston Globe over the weekend arguing that neuroscientists ought to be given the brain of deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in order to study the “biology of violence.” Without dismissing Tsarnaev’s culpability in the attack, Dr. Michael Craig Miller says Tsarnaev’s brain could hold important clues for understanding the role that prior, repeated brain damage—in Tsarnaev’s case, a history of concussions as a former boxer—could play in violent behavior. Miller centers his argument on research surrounding a degenerative brain disease linked to concussions called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. “CTE is associated with impaired judgment, impulse control problems and aggression,” reports ABC World News. “Researchers at Boston University have found evidence of CTE in the brains of 68 deceased military veterans and athletes, including eight boxers.” Miller writes in his op-ed:

Getting less attention is the biology of violent behavior. One case is not going to satisfy our curiosity, but we do have an opportunity now to examine important and interesting evidence that is there for the taking.

So yes, let’s study Tsarnaev’s brain.

Read the Boston Globe piece here.

• If you’ve heard about the hot fitness trend Tabata but are fuzzy on the specifics, check out this Reuters piece, which dives into the whats, whys and hows. In short: Tabata entails super short, super high-intensity bouts of fitness, alternated with recovery periods. Rinse, repeat.

• Three cheers for olive oil! (And fish and nuts!) A new study links Mediterranean diets with better memory and thinking skills in people as they age, staving off the onset of dementia. More here.

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