Have you heard that the devastating riots across England were caused by a chemical deficiency in the brain? Or that we will soon be able to cure such behaviour with a nasal spray?
Over the past two weeks, such news stories have been read by potentially millions of people across many countries on at least three continents. Yet these claims are entirely bogus and we know this because we are part of the team of scientists who did the research on which they were based.
Such proliferations of falsehood are dangerous, not only because they misinform the public, but also because they undermine public respect for science and support for the use of taxes to fund it.
Our team recently made an interesting discovery: that in a certain part of the brain, the concentration of a neurotransmitter called GABA – which regulates signalling between neurons – is related to a certain type of impulsive personality.