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Br J Psychiatry. 2002 Jul;181:72-5.

Sudden death and suicide: a comparison of brain weight.

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1
Department of Histopathology, Manchester Royal Infirmary, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent evidence suggests that the brain weight of individuals over the age of 60 who commit suicide is significantly higher than in those who die of natural causes.

AIMS:

To ascertain whether brain weight is different in people of a younger age who commit suicide than in those who die accidentally.

METHOD:

A retrospective review of post-mortem reports collecting height, weight and brain weight in 100 suicide victims (87 males, mean age 38.5 years) and 100 age/gender-matched controls who died accidentally or of natural causes (87 males, mean age 38.7 years). Comparison by t-test was made of brain weight in isolation as well as brain weight corrected for height, weight and body mass index.

RESULTS:

These results reveal no significant difference in brain weight in suicide cases compared to the general population (P > 0.05). The brain weight of those who died by hanging was significantly higher than of those who died by overdose.

CONCLUSIONS:

Whatever the significant neuropsychiatric elements are that influence suicidal behaviour, they do not consistently affect brain weight in the population studied.

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PMID:
12091267
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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