Open Access, Peer-reviewed

ISSN 2005-7571 (Online)
Volume 28, Number 2 (2/2021)
Review Article <page. 36-49 >
DOI : 10.22857/kjbp.2021.28.2.002

A Review on Brain Imaging Studies of Suicide in Youth

Suji Lee, PhD1;Shinhye Kim, BS1,2; and Sujung Yoon, MD1,2;

1;Ewha Brain Institute and 2;Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea

Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, especially among adolescents and young adults. Considering this fact, it is imperative that we understand the neural mechanisms underlying suicidal thoughts and behaviors in youth from a neurodevelopmental perspective. In this review, we focused on the magnetic resonance imaging studies that examined the neural correlates of suicidal ideations (SI) or attempts (SA) in youth. We reviewed twenty-three cross-sectional studies reporting the structural and functional alterations in association with SI or SA among adolescents and young adults with various mental disorders. The previous literature suggests that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and ventral frontolimbic circuit, may play an important role in the pathophysiology of suicidal behavior in youth through altered top-down control over emotion and impulsivity. Future studies with a longitudinal design and using multimodal imaging techniques may be of help to identify novel therapeutic targets specific for youth with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.


Key words : Youth;Suicide;Suicidal behaviors;Brain mechanisms;Magnetic resonance imaging.

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