At What Point Should a Person Get Tested for Brain Tumors? A Potential Way to Stop Violent Murders.

After the presentation on Brain Tumors and Criminal Minds, I began wondering about how a potential mandate for brain scans could possibly prevent future murders of the horrific kind discussed in class. Of course, even if there was a law, for example that required everyone to get a brain scan at age 18 and every 10 years after, the problems of expense and enforcement would be extremely hard to rationalize. However, I think the presentation brought to light some points, at least for me, that I plan to keep in mind. Particularly, I looked up the symptoms which should trigger a person to seek a brain scan and in a preventative aim I hope to remember them should that time ever come. The most common symptons of brain tumors are:

People with brain tumors often suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Sensory (touch) and motor (movement control) loss
  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT, or blood clot)
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Behavioral and cognitive (thinking) changes
  • Endocrine dysfunction (hormone/gland changes)

The reason I think this is important and relevant to all, is that I believe most people would agree that they do not wish to murder their mothers, or start abusing children. After hearing about Charles Whitman’s own words on his killings, I could not help but think, “Oh my gosh, I better never have a brain tumor.” If brain tumors can contribute/cause a person to perform unspeakable, violent tasks then I certainly want to be vigilant so that I or anyone close to me never loses their mind due to a brain tumor.

The “it will never happen to me” attitude is probably detrimental in this context because according to the statistics it just may and failure to seek medical attention when experiencing the symptons listed above could lead to something far worse than merely continued headaches. If there is anyway to prevent tragedies like the Charles Whitman killings then public interest indicates we would pursue such prevention methods but the problem of course is how. Even if brain scans were mandatory during Charles Whitman’s time, there is the obvious problem that a person with a tumor still might not adhere to the requirement to get one – ideally, every brain tumor that leads to this horrific behavior would be removed at the beginning of its growth. I am interested in hearing any proposals for a try of prevention that anyone may have to offer.

Also, while the “dark knight” killer has not been convicted there, I found an interesting article discussing his brain issues that caused his crazed killings for anyone interested:

What Science Can Tell Us About James Holmes Brain. http://io9.com/5928905/what-science-can-tell-us-about-james-holmess-brain

Discussion on brains, criminal behavior and their connection:

http://www.massgeneral.org/psychiatry/services/law_brain_projects.aspx

Discussions on symptons:

http://www.braintumor.org/patients-family-friends/about-brain-tumors/symptoms-and-diagnosis.html

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One thought on “At What Point Should a Person Get Tested for Brain Tumors? A Potential Way to Stop Violent Murders.

  1. Does someone have to experience all of the symptoms and do they have to be constant? I can see how seizures beginning can ring some alarms, but depression is pretty common.

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