Behavioral Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia and Homicide in a Historical Case

Stefano Zago, Cristina Scarpazza, Teresa Difonzo, Andrea Arighi, Dounia Hajhajate, Yvan Torrente, Giuseppe Sartori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Criminal behavior is a clinical feature of the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), ranging from socially inappropriate behavior and minor offenses (such as shoplifting, driving-related violations, housebreaking, trespassing) to the more extreme acts of sex crimes and violence. To our knowledge, no homicide case involving bvFTD is well illustrated in the scientific literature, and only a few anecdotal annotations are available about bvFTD and homicide. This is surprising considering the inclination of individuals with bvFTD to lack impulse control, to manifest disinhibition, to display diminished emotional awareness and loss of empathy, and to show behavior indicative of disordered moral reasoning. Here, we describe the 19th-century homicide case of Benjamin Reynaud, a man whose clinical characteristics suggest the bvFTD diagnosis. Reynaud's case may represent a rare instance of homicide committed by an individual with bvFTD and provide a basis for some reflections regarding the relationship between homicidal behavior and bvFTD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-227
Number of pages9
JournalThe journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2021


  • behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
  • criminal behavior
  • homicide
  • murder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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