So since I didn’t do too good of a job explaining the study I was looking, I thought I would take the time to redeem myself now. The paper I was looking at was entitled “Pedophilia is accompanied by increased plasma concentrations of catecholamines, in particular epinephrine” by Maes et al. It has been found that pedophilia can be considered somewhat of an impulse control disorder and that catecholamines (“fight or flight” hormones – epinephrine and norepinephrine – that are released in response to stress) and serotonin play a role in the pathophysiology of pedophilia. Furthermore, a deficiency in MAO – an enzyme that breaks down catecholamines – has been observed in people with impulsive aggression and attempted rape. So the goal of the researchers was to look at meta-Chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) which is an agonist of serotonin, and see if it suppresses the activity of epinephrine and norepinephrine in the blood stream. What was interesting was that they found that there was a significant effect of mCPP in lowering epinephrine in pedophilic men, but not in normal men, and that the pedophilic men had significantly higher levels of epinephrine in the blood stream before receiving mCPP.
After reading the other article about differences between pedophiles and normal men in brain activity of the limbic system, I found myself thinking about how these two articles were related. The limbic system consists of the hippocampus and amygdala, two important structures related to processing our memories and emotions, and in relation to emotions – how we respond to stress. So I’ve theorized 2 possible ways in which why pedophiles are the way they are, biologically that is.
1. During childhood, a kid could get molested by a pedophiliac. This traumatic experience could cause alterations in the wiring of the limbic system, when the brain is still developing and creating new connections, therefore “messing up” the wiring of their amygdala and hippocampus. As such, this alteration could cause adrenal glands to excrete excess epinephrine, as observed in the first study.
2. My second theory is that in response to being molested, a child could secrete a ridiculous amount of epinephrine would could alter the neuroactivity in the limbic system of the brain. This second theory could also be true for pedophiles who were never molested, but just have a mutation or “falty” adrenal gland that excretes high levels of epinephrine, altering the limbic system activity as well.
I feel like there may be some truth to these theories… However these are purely biological explanations, that could influence the psyche, but it’s possible that I now need to look at a psychological standpoint of this disorder. Needless to say, with this disorder and the research done on the catecholamines, I find myself asking whether or not it may be possible to CURE pedophilia?