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      Neural mechanisms of aggression.

      1 ,
      Nature reviews. Neuroscience
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Unchecked aggression and violence exact a significant toll on human societies. Aggression is an umbrella term for behaviours that are intended to inflict harm. These behaviours evolved as adaptations to deal with competition, but when expressed out of context, they can have destructive consequences. Uncontrolled aggression has several components, such as impaired recognition of social cues and enhanced impulsivity. Molecular approaches to the study of aggression have revealed biological signals that mediate the components of aggressive behaviour. These signals may provide targets for therapeutic intervention for individuals with extreme aggressive outbursts. This Review summarizes the complex interactions between genes, biological signals, neural circuits and the environment that influence the development and expression of aggressive behaviour.

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          Most cited references4

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          Fluoxetine and impulsive aggressive behavior in personality-disordered subjects.

          Evidence of an inverse relationship between central serotonergic (serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine]) system function and impulsive aggressive behavior has been accumulating for more than 2 decades. If so, pharmacological enhancement of serotonin activity should be expected to reduce impulsive aggressive behavior in subjects in whom this behavior is prominent. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the selective serotonin-uptake inhibitor fluoxetine hydrochloride was conducted in 40 nonmajor-depressed, nonbipolar or schizophrenic, DSM-III-R personality-disordered individuals with current histories of impulsive aggressive behavior and irritability. Measures included the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified for Outpatients, Clinical Global Impression Rating of Improvement, and several secondary measures of aggression, depression, and anxiety. Fluoxetine, but not placebo, treatment resulted in a sustained reduction in scores on the Irritability and Aggression subscales of the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified for Outpatients that was first apparent during months 2 and 3 of treatment, respectively. Fluoxetine was superior to placebo in the proportion of "responders" on the Clinical Global Impression Rating of Improvement: first at the end of month 1, and then finally demonstrating a sustained drug-placebo difference from the end of month 2 through the end of month 3 of treatment. These results were not influenced by secondary measures of depression, anxiety, or alcohol use. Fluoxetine treatment has an antiaggressive effect on impulsive aggressive individuals with DSM-III-R personality disorder.
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            Some Effects of Conditioning on Social Dominance and Subordination in Inbred Strains of Mice

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              Hypothalamic lesions and intermittent explosive disorder.

              The authors present two cases of patients with craniopharyngiomas who meet the DSM-III-R criteria for intermittent explosive disorder. Episodes of rage developed before and/or after surgery for removal of the craniopharyngioma. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed hypothalamic-hypophyseal involvement. It is suggested that hypothalamic lesions played a major role in the development of aggressive behavior in both cases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nat Rev Neurosci
                Nature reviews. Neuroscience
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-003X
                1471-003X
                Jul 2007
                : 8
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Psychology, Institute for Behavioural Medicine Research, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA. rnelson@osu.edu
                Article
                nrn2174
                10.1038/nrn2174
                17585306
                8848d287-b2b9-403f-925f-d61e63339cf7
                History

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