Sunday, December 22, 2013

"Richman and Hensel dream of advances in brain imaging that might one day enable routine brain "checkups," much like the way doctors measure blood pressure. They've been meeting with lawmakers ... to lobby for more awareness and training that they say could help identify those prone to violence, like the gunman at Sandy Hook and elsewhere."

Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman with a portrait of their daughter, Avielle Richman, at a news conference in Newtown, Conn., in January. The parents have created a foundation to fund research into the biochemical and environmental factors that drive violent behavior.
Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman with a portrait of their daughter, Avielle Richman, at a news conference in Newtown, Conn., in January. The parents have created a foundation to fund research into the biochemical and environmental factors that drive violent behavior.
With his training in neuropsychopharmacology and her background in infectious disease, the couple is pushing for more integrated research — examining both nature and nurture — to understand the biochemical and external factors that drive violent behavior.

To that end, Richman and Hensel launched the Avielle Foundation, shortly after the shooting. "It is our responsibility to be outraged, to take action, to ensure this doesn't happen again," Richman said at a press conference in Connecticut in January. "With this foundation, it is our hope to honor our beautiful Avielle and others who have fallen to such senseless violence."

Understanding the underpinnings of violence, Richman and Hensel hope, will eventually lead to treatment for people with violent tendencies. The foundation's tagline, "You can imagine," is a nod, the couple say, to what's possible — and to the need for people to not turn away.

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