Structural and functional alterations of the suicidal brain: An updated review of neuroimaging studies

Ali Bani-Fatemi, Samia Tasmim, Ariel Graff-Guerrero, Philip Gerretsen, John Strauss, Nathan Kolla, Gianfranco Spalletta, Vincenzo De Luca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Brain imaging is a non-invasive and in vivo direct estimation of detailed brain structure, regional brain functioning and estimation of molecular processes in the brain. The main objective of this review was to analyze functional and structural neuroimaging studies of individuals at risk for suicide. We reviewed articles published between 2005 and 2018, indexed in PubMed and Medline, assessing structural and functional alterations of the brain of individuals at high risk for suicide and at low risk for suicide. We reviewed functional and structural neuroimaging studies which included individuals with a history of suicidal ideation or attempt in major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BD), psychosis, and borderline personality disorder (BPD). We selected 45 papers that focused on suicidality in MDD, 17 papers on BD, 11 papers on psychosis, and 5 papers on BPD. The suicidal brain across psychiatric diagnoses seems to heavily involve dysfunction of the fronto-temporal network, primarily involving reductions of gray and white matter volumes in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC), anterior cingulate, and superior temporal gyrus. Nonetheless, there are several ways to define suicidal behaviour and ideation. Therefore, it still remains difficult to combine the evidence from imaging studies that used different definitions of suicidality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Volume278
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 30 2018

Keywords

  • Functional magnetic resonance Imaging (fMRI)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Neuroimaging
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Suicidal behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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