Brain imaging techniques can help identify suicidal tendencies, says study

Brain imaging techniques can help identify suicidal tendencies, says study

Suicide is one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States, still there is not much progress in research pertaining to diagnosis of suicidal tendencies. While prior researches have been able to decode the brain signals associated with depression, a group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University is now suggesting how people who attempt suicide can be identified with the help of brain scans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) method. The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour in October 2017, detailed how the observations could pave the way for a new way of understanding psychological illnesses.

The research is unique in the sense that it made use of artificial intelligence techniques to identify people affected by suicidal tendencies. The researchers observed 34 respondents, with half of them reportedly harboring suicidal thoughts. They carried out fMRI on the participants. While subjecting the participants to the process, they were shown words related to suicide like “death” and “distressed,” in addition to words pertaining to both positive and negative emotions.

Based on an examination of such patients, the researchers identified five regions in the brain and six words that helped recognize the participants contemplating suicide or vicious way of causing self-injury. The researchers created an algorithm to help identify those who are suicidal. In addition, the authors were able to discern, with accuracy, suicidal tendencies in 15 of the 17 patients from the suicidal group and 16 members of the rest.

The researchers in a separate experiment classified the respondents with suicidal thoughts into two groups, including one that tried to commit suicide and the other who did not. A different algorithm again helped to identify the respondents, belonging to the control group, with suicidal tendencies.

Brain of healthy people different from those harboring suicidal thoughts

The research is the first of its kind that helps explain how the brains of healthy people are different from their suicidal counterparts. This is evident from the kind of reaction triggered in the brain region associated with shame in suicidal patients after they looked at the word “death.” The study observations also open new avenues to help detect and treat mental illnesses.

Despite rapid advances in medical sciences, there is not much information available about brain changes and alterations associated with psychological disruptions. Moreover, overlapping of the symptoms of psychiatric diseases or vague manifestations of various mental problems like depression make it difficult for clinicians to properly diagnose and treat them.

Most psychologists remark how two people detected with the same emotional disorder may end up showing entirely differing symptoms owing to the frequency and grievousness of problems stemming from poor mental health. Understanding mental disorders in the sense of how they affect the brain could help in unraveling an entirely new way of diagnosing emotional problems and advising solutions for the same.

Seeking early treatment for mental disorders is key

Mental illnesses are treatable. The tendency to ignore symptoms at an earlier stage and seek help only after being afflicted with their grievousness lessens the chances of complete recovery. The fear of stigma and being discriminated against may refrain people from seeking necessary treatment, but it is mostly the lack of information about psychiatric disorders that has led to the growing prevalence of mental health issues across the U.S.

Experts at Sovereign Health help mentally unhealthy patients get rid of the recurring strain and trauma they go through, while enabling them to understand the root causes of their disorders. Recurring stress can result in grievous mental health issues, including suicidal ideation. Clinicians at our suicidal ideation disorder treatment centers in California recommend a combination of effective remedial therapies, along with medicines, during the treatment process. To know more about our centers offering suicidal ideation disorder treatment in California, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with one of our representatives.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *