Suicidal behavior: Advances in clinical and neurobiological research and improvement of prevention strategies

Suicide is the 14th leading cause of death worldwide. It is responsible for 1%-5% of all mortality. This article highlights the latest developments in universal, selective, and indicated prevention strategies. Concerning universal suicide prevention, current research has shown that strategies such as restricting access to lethal means (e.g., control of analgesics and hot-spots for suicide by […]

Suicide ideation and neurocognition among 9- and 10- year old children in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study

Objective During the past decade, the pediatric suicide rate has nearly tripled. Yet, little is known about suicide behavior (SB) in children. Identification of risk factors associated with SB during childhood may be critical to preventing future attempts. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between neurocognitive performance and suicide ideation (SI) […]

Neurobiology of suicide in children and adolescents: Implications for assessment and treatment (IN: Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention, edited by J.P. Ackerman & L.M. Horowitz)

Pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment of children and adolescents with suicidal thoughts and behavior have lagged behind the already sparse treatments for suicidal adults, leaving many at-risk youths undertreated. The following is a review of the neurobiological research literature focused on suicide risk in children and adolescents. Topics include the relationship of suicide risk to neuroimaging […]

Suicide ideation and neurocognition among 9- and 10-year old children in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study

During the past decade, the pediatric suicide rate has nearly tripled. Yet, little is known about suicide behavior (SB) in children. Identification of risk factors associated with SB during childhood may be critical to preventing future attempts. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between neurocognitive performance and suicide ideation (SI) in […]

The role of the lateral habenula in suicide: A call for further exploration

Despite decades of significant effort in research, policy, and prevention, suicide rates have continued to rise to the current peak of 14.6 per 100,000 deaths. This has resulted in a concerted effort to identify biomarkers associated with suicidal behavior in the brain, to provide predictions that are better than the chance of discerning who will […]

Neural activity across the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and risk for suicidal ideation and self-injury

The current study investigated the neural correlates of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal ideation across the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Two-hundred ninety-six undergraduates solved anagram tasks while being monitored by a functional near-infrared spectroscopy device, and completed a questionnaire assessing behaviors and symptoms. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed location-specific changes in neural activity based on […]

Examining the neurobiology of non-suicidal self-injury in children and adolescents: The role of reward responsivity

Although prior work has shown heightened response to negative outcomes and reduced response to positive outcomes in youth with a history of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), little is known about the neural processes underlying these responses. Thus, this study examined associations between NSSI engagement and functional activation in specific regions of interest (ROIs) and whole-brain connectivity […]

The role of inflammation in suicidal behaviour

Objective Over the past decade, clinical data have accumulated showing that inflammation might contribute to the pathophysiology of suicide. To evaluate the associations and to identify the support for pathways linking inflammatory processes with suicidal behaviour, a comprehensive review of the literature was undertaken. Method The search terms ‘cytokine’, ‘risk factors’, ‘kynurenine’, ‘asthma’, ‘allergy’, ‘autoimmunity’, […]

Chromosome 22 deletions and sucidal behavior in schizophrenia.

Background: Studies have shown that the overall copy number variant (CNV) load is associated with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is frequently associated with suicidal behavior. Methods: We recruited 263 patients with schizophrenia from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale was used to assess the presence of lifetime suicide […]

Epigenetic marks in suicide: A review

Suicide is a complex phenomenon and a global public health problem that involves several biological factors that could contribute to the pathophysiology of suicide. There is evidence that epigenetic factors influence some psychiatric disorders, suggesting a predisposition to suicide or suicidal behavior. Here, we review studies of molecular mechanisms of suicide in an epigenetic perspective […]

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression severity in sexually assaulted women: Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis alterations

Background Sexual assault is implicated in several adverse psychological and physical health outcomes, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Neurobiological research has shown variations related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, immune alterations, metabolic function, and brain circuitry. Although these mechanisms have been extensively studied, the results have demonstrated different outcomes in PTSD. Methods We […]

The elusive phenotype of preadolescent suicidal thoughts and behaviors: Can neuroimaging deliver on its promise?

Lifetime suicidal thoughts and behaviors were assessed in a large sample (N=7,994) of children ages 9–10 years recruited through the Adolescent Brain Cognition Development (ABCD) project. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors were most closely associated with child psychopathology, family conflict, and parental psychopathology. The strongest neural correlate was an association between suicidal thoughts and behaviors and […]

Suicide risk and addiction: The impact of alcohol and opioid use disorders

Purpose of review: Suicide is a major public health concern and a leading cause of death in the US. Alcohol and opioid use disorders (AUD/OUD) significantly increase risk for suicidal ideation, attempts, and death, and are the two most frequently implicated substances in suicide risk. We provide a brief overview of shared risk factors and pathways […]

Evaluation of BDNF as a biomarker for impulsivity in a psychiatric population

Impulsivity is an important risk factor for suicide and therefore, identifying biomarkers associated with impulsivity could be important in evaluating psychiatric patients. Currently, assessment of impulsivity is based solely on clinical evaluation. In this study, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a nerve growth factor, was evaluated as a potential biomarker for impulsivity. We hypothesize that elevated […]

Exploratory analysis of behavioural impulsivity, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and resting-state frontal EEG activity associated with non-suicidal self-injury in patients with mood disorder

Introduction: Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a rapidly increasing mental health problem that requires more clinical attention. In this study, we aimed to explore the biobehavioral markers of NSSI in participants with mood disorders. Methods: A total of 45 participants with mood disorders (bipolar I, II, and major depressive disorder) were included in the study. Behavioral […]

Abnormal brain activity in adolescents with Internet addiction who attempt suicide: An assessment using functional magnetic resonance imaging

Internet addiction is associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior and can lead to brain dysfunction among adolescents. However, whether brain dysfunction occurs in adolescents with Internet addiction who attempt suicide remains unknown. This observational cross-sectional study enrolled 41 young Internet addicts, aged from 15 to 20 years, from the Department of Psychiatry, the […]

The neuroscience of suicidal behavior

Nearly one million people take their own lives each year world-wide – however, contrary to popular belief, suicide can be prevented. While suicide is commonly thought to be an understandable reaction to severe stress, it is actually an abnormal reaction to regular situations. Something more than unbearable stress is needed to explain suicide, and neuroscience […]

Biological bases of suicidal behaviours: A narrative review

Suicidal behaviour is a multifaceted phenomenon that concerns all human populations. It has been suggested that a complex interaction between the individual genetic profile and environmental factors throughout life underlies the pathophysiology of suicidal behaviour. Although epidemiological and genetic studies suggest the existence of a genetic component, exposure to biological and psychosocial adversities, especially during […]

Imaging suicidal thoughts and behaviors: A comprehensive review of 2 decades of neuroimaging studies

Identifying brain alterations that contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs) are important to develop more targeted and effective strategies to prevent suicide. In the last decade, and especially in the last 5 years, there has been exponential growth in the number of neuroimaging studies reporting structural and functional brain circuitry correlates of STBs. Within […]

Etiopathogenesis of suicide: A conceptual analysis of risk and prevention within a comprehensive, deterministic model

Suicide is a rising global health concern receiving disproportionate attention in comparison to other health conditions. In spite of substantial technological and scientific advancements, suicide research has continued to move slowly in terms of clinical translation due to the complexity of neural mechanisms, and subjective experiences that seem to underpin this complex human behavior. This […]

Circulating levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and history of suicide attempts in women

A growing body of research examining biological factors associated with suicidal behaviors highlights the role of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), involved in neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. There is evidence suggesting that suicide attempters have lower BDNF levels than those with no history of suicide attempts. The key question addressed in the current investigation is whether […]

Stress, genetics and epigenetic effects on the neurobiology of suicidal behavior and depression.

Alterations in a number of neurobiological systems have been associated with suicidal behavior including the serotonergic and noradrenergic systems and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Altered functioning of these systems may stem from both genetic and developmental causes. Adversity in early-life has developmental consequences on these systems that persist into adulthood. Genetic differences may also contribute to […]

Machine learning of neural representations of suicide and emotion concepts identifies suicidal youth

The clinical assessment of suicidal risk would be substantially complemented by a biologically based measure that assesses alterations in the neural representations of concepts related to death and life in people who engage in suicidal ideation. This study used machine-learning algorithms (Gaussian Naive Bayes) to identify such individuals (17 suicidal ideators versus 17 controls) with […]