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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Oct 1;32(7):1673-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2008.06.016. Epub 2008 Jul 11.

Left orbitofrontal and superior temporal gyrus structural changes associated to suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia.

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  • 1Psychiatric Unit, Clinic University Hospital, Avda. Blasco Ibáñez, 17, 46010 Valencia, Spain.


Suicidal attempts are relatively frequent and clinically relevant in patients with schizophrenia. Recent studies have found gray matter differences in suicidal and non-suicidal depressive patients. However, no previous neuroimaging study has investigated possible structural abnormalities associated to suicidal behaviors in patients with schizophrenia. A whole-brain magnetic resonance voxel-based morphometric examination was performed on 37 male patients meeting the DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia. Thirteen (35.14%) patients had attempted suicide. A non-parametric permutation test was computed to perform the comparability between groups. An analysis of covariance (AnCova) model was constructed with a statistical threshold of p<0.05 corrected for multiple comparisons. After controlling for age and severity of illness, results showed significant gray matter density reduction in left superior temporal lobe (p=0.03) and left orbitofrontal cortex (p=0.04) in patients who had attempted suicide when comparing with non-suicidal patients. Although sample size limitations and potential clinical heterogeneity preclude definitive conclusions, these data point to structural differences in key cerebral areas. Neuroimaging studies are necessary to expand our knowledge of biological mechanisms underlying suicide in schizophrenia.

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