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Research Article

The Brain Functional Networks Associated to Human and Animal Suffering Differ among Omnivores, Vegetarians and Vegans

  • Massimo Filippi mail,

    filippi.massimo@hsr.it

    Affiliations: Neuroimaging Research Unit, Institute of Experimental Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy, Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy

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  • Gianna Riccitelli,

    Affiliation: Neuroimaging Research Unit, Institute of Experimental Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy

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  • Andrea Falini,

    Affiliation: Department of Neuroradiology, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy

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  • Francesco Di Salle,

    Affiliation: Maastricht Brain Imaging Center, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

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  • Patrik Vuilleumier,

    Affiliation: University Medical Center of Geneva, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

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  • Giancarlo Comi,

    Affiliation: Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy

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  • Maria A. Rocca

    Affiliations: Neuroimaging Research Unit, Institute of Experimental Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy, Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy

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  • Published: May 26, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010847

Reader Comments (2)

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Nature or nurture?

Posted by audesapere on 29 May 2013 at 05:32 GMT

This is very interesting. I wonder whether future vegans are born with more active empathy circuits, or whether these develop after one decides to become a vegan. Or perhaps substances in meat affect neurotransmitters and suppress empathy circuits. I'm sure there are no vegan serial killers! A study by Dr William Walsh several decades ago on hair analysis of serial killers in the California prison system showed that they all had high levels of lead and cadmium (and low zinc). Do heavy metal and other toxic pollutants interfere with empathy circuits in these and other sociopaths? Our corporate- run society also encourages sociopathic behavior. Studies have shown sociopathic tendencies in CEOs of corporations. It would be interesting to study their empathy circuits and dietary preferences.

No competing interests declared.