New research could help exonerate police officers accused of using excessive force to restrain unruly perpetrators, New Scientist reports. So far the American Medical Association has not recognized “excited delirium,” a condition describing an agitated, combative person who exhibits superhuman strength and high body temperature—a rare condition common to crack addicts that often leads to death.
But new analysis of 90 perpetrator death cases may change that. Scientists at University of Miami in Florida noticed two biomarkers: a decrease in dopamine transporters, which help reduce the risk of potentially fatal heart malfunctions; and an increase in heat shock proteins, which would heat up the body. But fatal cases of excited delirium may still be induced by police brutality, one physician notes.