The solution to the problem of violence and potential areas of its application

Started by Volunto, Feb 07, 2023, 07:03 PM

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We now know that many animals, and even humans, have an innate mechanism that can suppress offensive aggression without affecting defensive aggression, as well as other forms of behavior and social communication. Understanding the neurophysiological and genetic aspects of this mechanism can contribute to the development of several solutions aimed at both temporary and permanent elimination of violence from the behavior of individuals by correcting and strengthening the function of their violence inhibitor.

The most obvious solution is to create a pharmacological drug, based on such an agonist of 5-HT1A and/or 5-HT1B receptors, which will have the most selective effect, activating the violence inhibitor without affecting other neurophysiological functions.

This drug can be used in the treatment of patients suffering from increased aggressiveness. Research on 5-HT agonists for this purpose has already been undertaken in the past, and some researchers are currently supporting its resumption. It could also be applied to violent criminals as an alternative to imprisonment or other forms of punishment and correction.

Perhaps a less selective but stronger and fast-acting version of such a drug in some situations could be used as a safe alternative to tranquilizers. Such a situation may be the need to quickly calm down an overly aggressive patient or remotely stop a person with obvious violent intentions using, for example, a dart gun. The latter concept can even be used to create appropriate self-defense weapons.

Another option is to create a gene therapy drug. This is a new approach to the treatment of congenital and genetically determined pathologies. The best-known example of gene therapy is the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy in children with the drug Zolgensma, which corrects the corresponding defective gene.

To fix a dysfunctional violence inhibitor, we need to perform brain gene therapy, which is also a realistic task. For example, scientists have recently been able to develop gene therapy to treat a serious genetic disorder that leads to a lack of key neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin) and causes mental retardation, inability to fully control body movements, decreased muscle tone, seizures, and a host of other symptoms. During experimental treatment, seven patients aged four to nine years got rid of seizures, began to try to speak and smile, and two of them were even able to walk with assistance, which was previously considered fundamentally impossible for such a diagnosis. Also, the possibility of gene therapy treatment of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders with a genetic origin is being actively studied.

At the moment, the most promising solution in brain gene therapy is the use of adeno-associated viral vectors as a deliverer of the correct gene variant to the necessary cells of the nervous system. One of the recent studies demonstrated the possibility of the effective application of such gene therapy in large mammals. Another study showed how its use in the nucleus accumbens to restore the expression of the p11 protein gene that binds 5-HT1B and 5-HT4 receptors can help treat depression. And the task of gene therapy, which corrects the function of a violence inhibitor, is actually also the restoration of the correct expression of genes responsible for certain enzymes and receptors in certain regions of the brain.

Gene therapy drugs of such kind would solve the problem of violence once and for all, especially if mass testing of people is carried out, looking for impairments in the function of the violence inhibitor. It could even become a widespread practice, as is now the case for medical examinations and vaccinations upon admission to educational institutions or employment.

Such tests are already possible. An electrophysiological study of the violence inhibition mechanism in relation to aggressive traits showed their inverse association with the Stop-P300 amplitude in response to facial distress cues. And in relation to the CU-traits it showed their inverse association with the amplitude of N170 according to the reaction of the subjects to all facial expressions. These amplitudes may provide useful electrophysiological markers for detecting dysfunction in the violence inhibitor.

In addition, it should be possible to develop simpler types of testing than electroencephalography. Through testing, such as measuring the level of the serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA in the cerebrospinal fluid, and positron emission tomography, disorders of the serotonergic system leading to aggressive behavior can be identified. Moreover, studies even show the possibility of creating portable genetic tests. And cheap portable genetic labs like Bento Lab are already available for purchase.

Testing of the function of the violence inhibitor could be carried out even in children from a very early age. That small percentage of them with dysfunction after just one injection will be able to get rid of the risk of turning into violent individuals for life. The problem of violence will eventually be solved long before it occurs. Society will come closer to achieving free and non-violent order, where there is no place for either private manifestations of violence or violence as a method of implementing and supporting certain social norms.

Of course, gene therapy technology is still at the beginning of development and too expensive, but in the future, it may become extremely affordable, as it was with many other technologies in the past. Now, the main part of the cost of any gene therapy drug is the cost of its development. However, the cost of creating each subsequent dose in mass production should decrease. It is unlikely that in this case, the cost of the drug will be higher than the cost of modern vector vaccines.

Another potential solution concerns the defense sector. It is technically possible to create a drug based on a self-replicating viral vector that can be transmitted from person to person. At the moment, a similar concept is already being used in attempts to create so-called "contagious" vaccines. Once such vaccines were successfully applied to the rabbit population in the fight against two viral diseases.

Perhaps, based on the current knowledge of the violence inhibition mechanism, it is quite realistic to develop a biological solution that will be the most humane version of a strategic defensive weapon. It can be applied to a hostile army in the event of an attack to restore the function of the violence inhibitor in the violent part of its soldiers. In view of the rapid reduction in the cost of biotechnology, this solution may become available even to small countries that previously could not afford any serious deterrent.

Of course, the actual application of such a biological solution poses some risks and should be avoided, limited only to use to deter potential aggressors from attack. Though, in general, this is still a much more humane type of weapon than the already existing chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.