Year: 2016 Source: Archives of Suicide Research.(2016).20(3):291-313. DOI:10.1080/13811118.2015.1048397 SIEC No: 20160328

Suicide in the elderly is an underestimated and complex issue that has mainly been explored in sociological, clinical and psychological perspectives. Suicide in non-elderly adults has been associated with diverse neurobiological alterations that may shed light on future predictive markers and more efficient preventative interventions. The aim of this paper was to review studies specifically investigating the neurobiology of elderly suicidal behaviour. We performed a systematic English and French Medline and EMBASE search until 2013. Contrary to literature about the non-elderly, we found a paucity of studies investigating the biomarkers of suicidal risk in elderly adults. Main findings were found in the neurocognitive domain. Studies generally supported the existence of cognitive deficits, notably decision-making impairment and reduced cognitive inhibition, in patients with a history of suicidal act compared to patients without such history. However, replications are needed to confirm findings. Due to several limitations including the small number of available studies, frequent lack of replication and small sample size, no firm conclusions can be drawn. The authors encourage further investigations in this field as insight in the neurobiology of these complex behaviors may limit clichŽs about end of life and aging, as well as improve future prevention of suicide in the elderly.