A RENOWNED East Lancashire expert on the issues caused by brain trauma has warned of the dangers of drink fueled violence over Christmas and New Year.
Dr Jonathan Rogers, of Lower Darwen, was formerly the head of neurorehabilitation services at Ashworth High Secure Hospital - once home to moors murderer Ian Brady - and has toured Australia and the USA to present conferences on the effects of cognitive difficulties on offending behaviour.
And Dr Rogers, who is now head of clinical services for Equilibrium Healthcare in Manchester, has warned that drink-fuelled violence can have devastating consequences. He said: “Because of changes in society, especially the 24 hour drinking laws, younger people are going out later after drinking heavily at home, this especially applies to the under-20s.
“The problem with this is that the frontal lobes haven’t necessarily fully developed, which makes them more impulsive. Add alcohol to that and it can make them extremely impaired.”
Dr Rogers said the Christmas period was potentially very dangerous if celebrations got out of hand.
He said: “As we head into the festive period there will be a lot of young people out drinking longer.
“This can lead to a rise in undesirable behaviour.
“It is a potentially lethal cocktail of alcohol and the brain not being mature.”
Dr Rogers said even a minor incident can lead to life-changing consequences.
He said: “People think the brain is well protected but the skull is incredibly vulnerable.
“Someone can take one punch and be knocked unconscious, so when they fall down they don’t protect themselves and their skull can’t protect them from that sort of impact.
“Sadly a very minor incident can lead to dreadfully dramatic outcomes.”
Dr Rogers said that it isn’t just health problems that can arise from brain trauma.
He said: “One other aspect is the amount of people with head injuries that end up in the criminal justice system.
“There was a study done in Texas of everyone on death row that found all inmates had significant cognitive difficulties.
“The consequences can also be a change in personality, which can lead to marital or relationship breakdowns.
“From there people can end up on a downward spiral into alcohol abuse and getting into bother with the police.”
Anyone affected by the issue can contact Mr Rogers for advice on firstname.lastname@example.org