The surprising connection between brain injuries and crime | Kim Gorgens

Share it with your friends Like

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


Here’s a shocking statistic: 50 to 80 percent of people in the criminal justice system in the US have had a traumatic brain injury. In the general public, that number is less than five percent. Neuropsychologist Kim Gorgens shares her research into the connection between brain trauma and the behaviors that keep people in the revolving door of criminal justice — and some ways to make the system more effective and safer for everyone.

Get TED Talks recommended just for you! Learn more at

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

Follow TED on Twitter:
Like TED on Facebook:

Subscribe to our channel:

Please follow and like us:


Joseph Barney says:

I was in jail twice after a concussion sent me to the ER and both times I belonged in a hospital and that's per my public defender. The issue is I already had a brain injury but somehow didn't end up in jail. Now i have two holes in my brain from brain atrophy and shrinking grey matter from my numerous brain injuries. This is good that people are figuring this out. My mom says in Utah cops are being trained to not just stuff people like me in jail.

BartWilson says:

America turned prisons into profit makers giving those with the power to oversee an incarcerated person's punishment and rehabilitation absolutely no incentive to actually rehabilitate. It's a business, why would they actively work to lose their customers?

Faith Brooks says:

Look up Johnny Lewis, he was a calm guy and fantastic actor, most known for his role in Sons of Anarchy, he sustained a nasty head injury in a motorcycle accident and it led to repetitive crime, and unfortunately him murdering a 81 year old women & severely beating 2 other people unprovoked, and finally, his death.

Jenny Stroh says:

A brain injury coming to light.

  ECT or electroshock may be suggested to treat your mental health issues. There is no FDA testing for safety or effectiveness. Two class actions lawsuits taking place in the US and in England around the damages from this. TBI outcomes with every procedure now proved by the CA courts. We would like a discrimination suit against the FDA in failure to test involving a protected population. Also, this involves fraud and FTC issues. Medical malpractice may be possible around standards not being met around informed consent. Involves billions annually in the US alone. Increase in suicide following. Long-term outcomes of electrical trauma, because that is purely what this is, can include CTE, ALS, ongoing cardiac issues, etc. as all bodily systems impacted by this trauma. Warned of temporary memory loss but not actual structural brain changes that their own research reflects. See,, book by Linda Andre called Doctors of Deception, and articles as it relates on Mad in America. This unregulated procedure needs to be abolished. No longer just for depression nor used as a last resort. Patients are showing damages on a variety of testing.  Some are lucky enough recently to have their injuries addressed in brain injury programs. Increase in suicide following this procedure. Used also on our children and Veterans. Given Covid and mental distress, many are at risk for this. Involves billions annually in the US alone. Please go on public social media and discuss this because this truth is being covered up to prevent an increase in lawsuits.

Mikail Sheikh says:

POV: Your here from Y9 psychology

ds electroshock says:

I am a level one trauma nurse of many years that worked at leading facilities. I was going to be a flight nurse. I give this background to let you know I am familiar with trauma. I am no longer a trauma nurse which was my passion, secondary to consenting to this procedure I was told was safe and effective.

I am addressing those in rehabilitation medicine. I am asking for help in addressing these brain injury outcomes, now proved around devices in the California courts. The issue is electroshock or ECT. We have sustained repeated brain injuries at the hands of trusted providers. We are now sustaining further damages from providers, in trying to find help, and this is where I turn to your profession.

Since providers do not want to implicate other providers nor facilities, never mind their risk their medical career if they were to expose this, we as victims of this are greatly suffering. I do not like to use the word victim, but here it applies. 

I am diligent with my own care in trying to recover from this and am far from silent when I cannot access needed resources. I am lucky in this way to be outspoken and to have a background that is well aware of testing needed and what has transpired around this. I am met with the same as my peers often in spite of this. 

We are TBI survivors just as any other survivor, only our mechanism of injury being electrical was delivered by physicians hands. We struggle daily to maintain our lives after not just one head injury, but multiples. We are told we have not been harmed. We are gas lighted when our reality is already skewed by traumatic brain injury. We ask for help, but doctors ignore and minimize us. 

We cannot access testing nor services, because reason for same would have to be acknowledged, and better to ignore than have your name as a provider in the notes exposing this battery at best. My peers are killing themselves because we are discounted in our suffering and actually in many instances treated with overt contempt when trying to find help from doctors and staff.

Below is an outcome that is mine. I have been now identified with damages to my frontal lobes, cerebellum, and temporal lobes by a TBI specialist secondary to electroshock. It is is the medical records. I ask you in rehabilitation medicine to have these conversations with others so we can address this harm and get help to those that desperately need it. Expose this and shine a light as the public is at great risk. You are familiar with our struggles. We are just like any other TBI patient that needs your help and recognition please.

There is a test called the VNG that is used to identify concussions and other brain injuries. It is the in office test similar to the on field test the NFL players now get called the I-PASS. Below are damages recorded in notes by TBI specialist to outcomes of electroshock. Perhaps this test  may be used to identify TBI in ECT patients, as it is used for TBI in the NFL. These below findings around ECT are resulting from VNG testing. Patients are also showing changes on MRI, EEG, neuro/cog testing, and SPECT. 

3.    Mild L ptosis

4.    R hypertropia worse in L lateral gaze

5.    L exophoria

6.    L upper and R lower facial paresis

7.    L roll had tilt

8.    Olfactory recognition impaired bilateral

9.    VA ration horizontal square wave jerks R:2:1 L: down-beat nystagmus 2:1

10.  Saccade testing reveals latencies increased all planes except U/L

11.  Marked cervical substitutions with pursuits in all planes with intrusive saccades worsening in L prusuites

12.  Pursuits downward reveal intorsional glissades

13.  Gait testing reveals mild decrease inR arm swing: with dual tasking, gait becomes slightly wide-based and arm swing slightly decreases.

14.  Finger-nose past pointing R>L

15.  Somatic pinwheel perception diminished L L5

16.  Vestibular head impulse testing: Moderately decreased in LARP plane

17.  Saccadometry: Prosaccade 20 degree : intrusive saccades to the R

18.  Anti saccade 10 degree: 79 percent directional error rate

19.  Nystagmus: High frequency right beat and down beat nystagmus

20.  Central gaze: Head movement, L pstosis and nystagmnus

21.  Horizontal gaze L 24 degree Notable pitch plane head movement

22.  Horizontal gaze R 24 degree: Increased fatigue, decreased stability

23.  Upward gaze 14 degree: Notable pitch plane head movement

24.  Downward gaze 14 degree: Notable pitch polane head movement.

25.  Horizontal optokinetics 25 dps: L optokinetics provoked dysconjugate gaze. Reflex failed with R otokinetics

26.  Horizontal optokinetics with volitional targeting: Worsens

27.  Vertical pursuits 10 degrees: Intrusive saccades with downward pursuits

28.  Random vertical saccades: Upward intrusive saccades, cannot maintain downward gaze

29.  Vertical optokinetics 25 dps: Reflex failed.

30.  Vertical optokinetics with volitional targeting: Worsens

31.  Repeated random horizontal saccades; Latencies increased significantly bilaterally

Please see ectjustice now owned by law firms participating in national product liability suit. My gratitude for any exposure you can bring to this issue.

IT SARA says:

whene I was 2 I fell and cracked my head open pretty bad . and my parents told me that I was acting differently since. could it be because of tbi?

Thiago SB says:

O J Simpson explained

Claudio Correa says:

l only ser 2 ways to solve prisoners' Lives better bay being in prisional, 1 wering nanotechnology braceletes wateched by satellites and frees .2 prison for only 1 people divided of bars to avoid physical contact with each other!☀️

Radhai Ammal says:

A very good reason for why we have to transform our jails into rehabilitation centres

jmanley1486 says:

OMG… I was hit in the face with a softball that caused a concussion. Then it started making me faint and hit my head on corners and injuring myself more. I kept getting myself arrested in my early 20s. I've come a long way since the (I'm 33) but I still have problems with impulse control. It bothers me bc I am very intelligent and a very empathetic person… but there are something to this day that make me question myself after the fact.

Write a comment


Follow by Email