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Biol Psychiatry. 1996 Oct 15;40(8):706-13.

Abnormality of EEG alpha asymmetry in female adolescent suicide attempters.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.


Abnormal electroencephalographic (EEG) activity has been associated with various psychiatric disorders and behaviors, including depression, suicide, and aggression. We examined quantitative resting EEG in Hispanic female adolescent suicide attempters and matched normal controls. Computerized EEG measures were recorded at 11 scalp sites during eyes open and eyes closed periods from 16 suicide attempters and 22 normal controls. Suicide attempters differed from normal controls in alpha asymmetry. Normal adolescents had greater alpha (less activation) over right than left hemisphere, whereas suicidal adolescents had a nonsignificant asymmetry in the opposite direction. Nondepressed attempters were distinguished from depressed attempters in that they accounted for the preponderance of abnormal asymmetry, particularly in posterior regions. Alpha asymmetry over posterior regions was related to ratings of suicidal intent, but not depression severity. The alpha asymmetry in suicidal adolescents resembled that seen for depressed adults in its abnormal direction, but not in its regional distribution. Findings for suicidal adolescents are discussed in terms of a hypothesis of reduced left posterior activation, which is not related to depression but to suicidal or aggressive behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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