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Schiltz, Kolja; Schöne, Maria and Bogerts, Bernhard (2016): Beitrag der Neurowissenschaften zur forensischen Psychiatrie. In: Forensische Psychiatrie Psychologie Kriminologie, Vol. 10, No. 4: pp. 274-283

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Forensic psychiatry is a subspecialty dedicated to the interface between psychiatry and law. It uses paradigms and knowledge from general psychiatry for diagnostics, assessment, therapy and research under consideration of the special requirements of legal aspects and framework conditions;therefore, scientific development in forensic psychiatry is substantially dependent on scientific progress in psychiatry and thus nowadays also in neurosciences. Neurobiological hypotheses on the neuronal foundations of psychiatric diseases have been established, for example the dopamine hypothesis for schizophrenia, in a manner that led to important therapeutic advances in the treatment and long-term quality of life for affected persons. Analogous advances should not be withheld from forensic psychiatric patients, who are doubly affected by the disease and the accompanying limitations in their rights to freedom, which is why research in this field must be driven forwards. Clear advances in knowledge of the neurobiological foundations of forensic psychiatric illnesses have, for example, already been made in the field of pedophilia and psychopathy. Based on studies of investigation populations, such neuroscientific knowledge on the neurobiological principles of forensic psychiatric diseases, however, requires a carefully concerted communication with respect to dissemination in the media as well as in the interpretation of individual cases, for example in court. This is of great importance in order to prevent simplifying misconceptions and to avoid a subsequent loss of trust in the scientific process. Therefore, training of the new generation of forensic psychiatrists in the understanding and communication of scientific methods of modern forensic psychiatric neuroscience is of great importance for the societal impact and further advancement of the discipline.

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