Friday 13 December 2019

Brain networks 'interact' to hike risk of suicide in some people

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Nina Massey

Researchers believe they have identified key networks in the brain that interact to increase the risk that someone will think about - or attempt - suicide.

Around 800,000 people die globally by suicide every year, and it is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.

Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen, co-first author from the University of Cambridge, said: "Imagine having a disease we knew killed almost a million people a year, a quarter of them before 30, and yet we knew nothing about why some are more vulnerable to this disease. This is where we are."

Scientists looked at 131 studies, covering more than 12,000 individuals, analysing changes in brain structure and function - identifying two brain networks that appear to play a role.

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Hilary Blumberg, professor of psychiatric neuroscience at Yale, said: "The brain circuitry differences found provide important targets for the generation of more effective suicide prevention strategies."

Irish Independent

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