Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10 to 33 in the United States. Despite national and worldwide prevention efforts, the frequency of attempted suicides among children and adolescents has sadly continued to rise. To increase our understanding of the complex nature of suicide thoughts and behaviours and, ultimately, to develop more effective therapies and preventative measures, it is necessary for professionals from all over the world to do collaborative study.
A global team of researchers, including Neda Jahanshad, Ph.D., of the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute (Stevens INI), has discovered subtle alterations in the size of the prefrontal region of the brain in young people with mood disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Recently, the study was published in Molecular Psychiatry.
With these findings in hand, the study team emphasises the urgent necessity for additional investigations of similar nature. Continuing study by the same group will include a broader analysis with the aim of incorporating other age groups and investigating other characteristics, such as brain connection.
Laura S. van Velzen et al, Structural brain alterations associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young people: results from 21 international studies from the ENIGMA Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours consortium, Molecular Psychiatry (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41380-022-01734-0