The brain of Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old man who killed 58 people and wounded hundreds in Las Vegas October 1, is the subject of a microscopic study, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters at a news conference October 13.
Lombardo said that although no abnormalities in Paddock’s brain were seen at the time of autopsy, a microscopic evaluation will determine if even small-level abnormalities can be seen, eluding that authorities still are unclear of the madman’s motive. The brain was shipped to an unknown facility for further studies.
Lombardo also stated that investigators have “no intelligence or evidence the suspect was linked or had affiliation with any known terrorist groups or ideologies,” and further “do not believe there is one particular event in the suspect’s life for us to key in on.”
Though not a lot of information about Paddock’s psychological health has been released, he was prescribed anti-anxiety medication in June, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The newspaper stated that “records from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program obtained Tuesday show Paddock was prescribed 50 10-milligram diazepam tablets by Henderson physician Dr. Steven Winkler on June 21.”
The brand name for diazepam is Valium, which runs the risk of causing aggressive behavior in some people according to benzo.org.uk, who cited examples of the drug and similar classes of medications in connection with aggression for those who were reportedly taking it.
Diazepam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines, often referred to as “benzos,” which include such drugs as Ativan, Xanax and Valium. According to Rxlist.com, benzodiazepines, prescribed for anxiety, seizures and sleeping problems, are described as the following:
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety, but they also are effective in treating several other conditions. The exact mechanism of action of benzodiazepines is not known, but they appear to work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain, chemicals that nerves release in order to communicate with other nearby nerves. One of these neurotransmitters is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that suppresses the activity of nerves. Scientists believe that excessive activity of nerves may be the cause of anxiety and other psychological disorders, and benzodiazepines reduce the activity of nerves in the brain and spinal cord by enhancing the effects of GABA.