Brain networks to play a significant role in understanding suicide risk

According to a latest international study conducted by researchers from Yale University, certain key networks within the brain play a crucial role in identifying the risk of an individual who attempts suicide.

Figures indicate 800,000 people around the world die every year due to suicide, which is equivalent to one in 40 seconds. Suicide has been identified as the second leading cause of death among individuals between 15-29 year olds. Figures also allege that more adolescents die from suicide than from cancer, AIDS, heart disease, stroke, birth defects, influenza, pneumonia and from other chronic diseases combined. Furthermore, results indicate one in three adolescents think about suicide and three among these attempt suicide.

The study carried out a review of two decades of scientific literature focusing on brain imagining studies of social behavior and thoughts. For the research, researchers covered 12,000 individuals and examined 131 studies. This centered specifically on the alterations in brain function and structure which also augments an individual’s risk to suicide.  Two brain networks were identified as a result, and their connection plays an important role.

The front of the brain area known as lateral and medical ventral prefrontal cortex and its connection to other brain regions were responsible for emotions. The alterations in this network leads to heightened negative thoughts which further regulates difficulties, emotions and triggers suicidal thoughts.

Alterations in the second region, known as the inferior frontal gyrus system or the dorsal prefrontal cortex also induces suicide attempt, as it is responsible for decision making, for generating alternative solutions to problems and for controlling behavior.

Experts claim if both the networks are altered in terms of their function and biochemistry, an individual starts thinking negatively about the future and will not be able to control their thoughts thus increasing the risk for suicide