News | December 19, 2014

Brain Scans Link Frontal Abnormalities to Suicidal Behaviors in Adolescents, Young Adults

Study presents an important first step in understanding the neurobiology of how suicidal thoughts and behaviors are generated and may facilitate earlier identification of individuals at risk

Abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex and related brain areas are observed in adolescents who have attempted suicide, according to a report presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The study suggests that deficits in frontal systems may be associated with risk for suicide attempts in youths with mood disorders.

Most suicide attempts occur in the context of mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder has a prevalence of 3-4 percent in the U.S. population, and 25-50 percent of those affected attempt suicide; 15-20 percent of individuals with the disorder die as a result. Early intervention is needed as suicidal behavior often first presents in adolescence. The development of new interventions, however, requires a better characterization of how features of brain structure and function are linked to the development of suicidal behaviors.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Hilary Blumberg and colleagues at the Yale School of Medicine examined brain structure and function in adolescents and young adults, 14 - 25 years of age. Sixty-eight participants with bipolar disorder, of whom 26 attempted suicide, were compared with 45 healthy volunteers matched for age and gender. The investigators found that, compared with bipolar patients who did not attempt suicide and healthy control subjects, the participants who attempted suicide showed less integrity of white matter in key frontal brain systems, including the uncinate fasciculus, a fiber tract that connects the frontal lobe with key brain areas that control emotion, motivation, and memory. What was remarkable was that the deficits in the structural connections were linked to weaker connections between the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, suggesting that the white matter abnormalities disrupt the ability of these system components to work together. Further, there were links between the circuitry deficits and suicidal ideation, the number of suicide attempts and the relative lethality of those prior suicide attempts.

This work presents an important first step in understanding the neurobiology of how suicidal thoughts and behaviors are generated and may facilitate earlier identification of individuals at risk and development of targeted interventions to stop suicide.

For more information: www.acnp.org

Related Content

Philips Introduces Technology Maximizer Program for Imaging Equipment Upgrades
Technology | Imaging | January 17, 2018
January 17, 2018 — Philips recently announced the launch of Technology Maximizer, a cross-modality program designed t
Russian Team Developing New Technology to Significantly Reduce MRI Research Costs
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | January 16, 2018
January 16, 2018 — Researchers from the NUST MISIS Engineering Center for Industrial Technologies in Russia have deve
Transpara Deep Learning Software Matches Experienced Radiologists in Mammogram Reading
News | Computer-Aided Detection Software | January 12, 2018
Deep learning and artificial intelligence improves the efficiency and accuracy of reading mammograms, according to...
Fat Distribution in Women and Men Provides Clues to Heart Attack Risk
News | Women's Health | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – It’s not the amount of fat in your body but where it is stored that may increase your risk for hea
Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain
News | Mobile Devices | January 11, 2018
Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet,...
Minimally Invasive Treatment Provides Relief from Back Pain

Lumbar spine MRI showing disc herniation and nerve root at baseline and one month after treatment

News | Interventional Radiology | January 11, 2018
The majority of patients were pain free after receiving a new image-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment for low back...
Emergency Radiologists See Inner Toll of Opioid Use Disorders

Rates of Imaging Positivity for IV-SUDs Complications. Image courtesy of Efren J. Flores, M.D.

News | Clinical Study | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 – Emergency radiologists are seeing a high prevalence of patients with complications related to opio
CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

3-D rendering from a cardiac CT dataset demonstrating mild dilation of the ascending aorta.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 11, 2018
Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at...
Study Finds No Evidence that Gadolinium Causes Neurologic Harm

MR images through, A, C, E, basal ganglia and, B, D, F, posterior fossa at level of dentate nucleus. Images are shown for, A, B, control group patient 4, and the, C, D, first and, E, F, last examinations performed in contrast group patient 13. Regions of interest used in quantification of signal intensity are shown as dashed lines for globus pallidus (green), thalamus (blue), dentate nucleus (yellow), and pons (red).

News | Contrast Media | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — There is no evidence that accumulation in the brain of the element gadolinium speeds cognitive dec

Size comparison between 3-D printed prosthesis implant and a penny.

News | 3-D Printing | January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018 — Researchers using...
Overlay Init