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Platelet monoamine oxidase type B (MAO-B) activity in psychopathy Gretton, Heather Margaret


Studies of platelet MAO-B activity have revealed a link between low platelet activity and psychiatric syndromes characterized by an inability to control impulses and to anticipate future consequences of behavior (Oreland, 1980; Gottfries, von Knorring, & Oreland, 1980). These characteristics are fundamental to the construct of psychopathy, and we might therefore expect that psychopathy is associated with low MAO activity. Indeed, some investigators have suggested that low platelet MAO-B activity is a potential marker for vulnerability to psychopathy (Schalling, Asberg, Edman, & Oreland, 1987). However, no study to date has directly examined the association between platelet MAO activity and psychometrically-sound indices of psychopathy. The present study measured platelet MAO-B activity in a sample of 54 male offenders, assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991). PCL-R scores were not significantly related to level of platelet MAO activity. The results are discussed in terms of methodological issues involved in conducting biochemical research.

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