Saturday, June 9, 2012

Does Canadian Cannibal Luka Magnotta Have Adult Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal Alcohol  Syndrome was discovered over 30 years ago . At that time medical geneticist Dr. Ken Jones and  Dr. David Smith found a distinct pattern of mental and physical defects in children with associated facial patterns associated with high levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
For years research concerning the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on children was examined. Studies were done to analyze the damage to the brain and other structures, which resulted  in psychological or behavioral problems and physical damage.  Studies have shown cognitive issues along with attention deficits, memory problems , reasoning problems, impulsive behavior ,and poor cause and effect reasoning. Most of the research has been done on children.
Now these children with FAS have grown up and become adults. As a result  there is now a whole host of issues facing those with the disorder. In fact  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome  is starting  to be recognized by the legal community as a  high risk factor for criminal behavior.
In addition, studies have shown that a  disproportionately large number of youth and adults with fetal alcohol syndrome appear to be coming into conflict with the legal system. Learning and behavioral difficulties associated may make them more susceptible to criminal behavior.
Those with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome have a distinct  pattern  of facial features. Thy often have a flat midface, thinner upper lip,flattened ridges between the base of the nose and the upper lip (i.e., a flattened philtrum), skin folds at corner of eye, smaller head circumference, ‘train line’ ear folds and a short nose.

If you look at the early photos of Canadian Canibal Luka Magnotta aka Clinton Newman as a child , you can see many of the facial characteristics   which may appear to be associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

According to  his aunt , he was "a timebomb waiting to happen " and had a myriad of behavioral problems. As a teen he  allegedly had brushes with the law and  according to newspaper accounts he was arrested for credit card fraud.  Recently, he allegedly posted videos  of himself online  torturing animals .

At 19 he became a male stripper and a porn star and one of his co-workers reported that he allegedly  had temper outbursts where he would hit himself in the head.
Based on his facial and physical  characteristics,  it seems  to me that it is a possibility that his  behavioral characteristics may be consistent with that of adult Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, especially with regard to his aberrant and deviant behaviors.


Anonymous said...

I hope this new research into FAS adults considers whether the FAS were raised by their alcoholic parent/s, or if a loving family member intervened and raised the child themselves with the court's approval.

Dorith said...

Looking at both pictures, I do not see anything extraordinary in the faces of this person. But then I am not trained to distinguish those features.

But I think it would be quite easy to find out whether his mother was drinking alcohol during her pregnancy. And in any case, the defense will jump on this "excuse" and claim that the guy is not guilty, surely his mother was drinking either openly or covertly.

Brian Philcox said...

At least 80% of those affected by maternal drinking in pregnancy have no facial dysmorphology but struggle with significant brain trauma nevertheless. In Canada we have at least 300 k individuals with some form of FASD but are largely undiagnosed.

Dr.Lillian Glass said...

You can see the facial dysmorphology in terms of his eyes and the epicanthal folds and thin upper lip. Apparently it was reported that he recently had had some facial cosmetic surgery to modify his looks.

Lydia said...

Whoa! I was catching up on my reading and saw your headline. I had to walk around for a few minutes because the first picture here (west coast Canada)showed his head resting and his right hand showing and I said "It looks like this guy has fetal alcohol." This was before I read the article. A few facial signs you didn't mention but he has: incorrect eye spacing and bowed lips. What I noticed about his hand was his baby finger curving similar to Down Syndrome.

Lydia said...

As Brian said above - because of the broad spectrum of this syndrome some do not display all or any obvious facial or ear tells. The hands (to my knowledge) are more distinctive. Palm prints are formed in utero as the brain connections are being made. What they call the 'hockey stick' affect at the base of the ring finger and the top line on our palm \__; the baby finger curving inward and non-wrinkling of fingertips or horizontal if present are signs. Rightly called FAE (Effects) the range is wide.

Lydia said...

Conflict with the law for a FAE sufferer is not usually as organized as this guy. Most with full blown syndrome can not follow more than one step at a time. The first commenter mentioned the 'nurture' side. If diagnosed (the only true way is self-reporting by the mother) early, a knowledgeable caregiver can help mitigate some effects. In adoptions of infants (the same facial markers make them quite good looking) the troubling behavior doesn't manifest until later. Even with the best nurturing it is incurable!

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