Jones said that there is good reason to believe that further study could help pinpoint cause-effect relationship between neurology and behavior, but it's still an imperfect science.
"There is an example in the literature of an individual who in middle age spontaneously started behaving in bizarre sexual ways, including pedophilia,'' Jones said. "Subsequent scans showed a tumor impinging on part of his brain. The tumor was removed and the behavior ceased. When later, [the subject] started exhibiting the behaviors again, [another scan showed that] the tumor had returned."
According to Jones, that doesn't prove that the tumor was causing the behavior but "it's certainly suggestive,'' he said.
Unfortunately for Braunstein, prosecutors expect to introduce evidence of previously dangerous behavior.
The writer's ex-girlfriend Jane Larkworthy will describe how Braunstein allegedly freaked out when she tried to break up with him in July 2003. She is expected to testify that he tied her up, threatened her with a knife, posted nude pictures of her on the Internet and continued to cause her trouble until she went to police and had him arrested in February 2005 -- nine months before the attack on his co-worker.
For more information on neurology and law, see Jones' article "Law, Responsibility and the Brain" at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=982487