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Vegas Gunman Shot Self in Head, but His Brain Is 'Usable'

'Usable' for the purpose of examination by a neuropathologist, that is
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2017 2:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Dr. Hannes Vogel will be slicing up Stephen Paddock's brain next week—but he doubts he will find anything that could explain why he massacred 58 people. Vogel, director of neuropathology at Stanford University Medical Center tells the New York Times that he will "leave no stone unturned" in the search for a brain disorder, which will at least lay speculation to rest. He says people have suggested more than half a dozen neurological diseases that could have played a role in the Las Vegas mass shooting and although Paddock shot himself in the head, the brain is apparently "still quite usable" for his purposes. He will search for tumors of malformations before taking tissue samples for close examination.

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Vogel says people have suggested Paddock, 64, had fronto-temporal lobar degeneration, which can strike in a person's 50s or 60s and cause personality changes and "unrestrained behavior"—though the shooter's meticulous planning makes that disorder unlikely. Vogel and other experts note that connecting brain disorders to behavior is very tricky. Contrary to popular belief, they say, doctors never fully established whether University of Texas mass shooter Charles Whitman even had a brain tumor, let alone that it caused his 1966 rampage. "I think everybody is pretty doubtful that we’re going to come up with something," Vogel says. "The possibilities, neuropathologically, for explaining this kind of behavior are very few." (Paddock's laptop failed to provide any clues.)

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