chapter  5
18 Pages

The development of chronic physical aggression: Genes and environments matter from the beginning


Descartes obviously anticipated the important progress of medicine for physical health over the four centuries that followed. However, the progress for the “diseases of the mind”, which some of us now call “diseases of the brain”, has been much less important. The brain is clearly a more complex organ than the heart and the kidneys. Part of this complexity is the fact that it is the central regulator of Descartes’ human machine. Diseases of the brain can affect physical health as well as social behaviour. The World Health Organization recently reminded us that physical violence is a social behaviour that has an impact on physical health and can be caused by mental health problems (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozano, 2002).