Identifying who’s more at risk for a leading cause of death among young people

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Yale researchers getting a clearer picture of who is more at risk for suicide among young people – a leading cause of death in that age group.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults.

The Yale study could have a huge impact on intervention, treatment and prevention.

Every day in the United States, hundreds of young people from grades seven to 12, attempt suicide.

Researchers focused on brain images of adolescents and young adults with bipolar disorder.

Senior author Dr. Hilary Blumberg explains, “We used specialized ways of scanning the brain. We were seeing subtle differences in the brains, in the adolescents who made suicide attempts, compared to the adolescents who didn’t make suicide attempts.”

The Yale Professor of Psychiatry adds, “So what this gives us is, new leads of where in the brain to look at, to start to try to develop new ways to identify individuals who might be at higher risk of suicide.”

They concentrated on the region of the brain that regulates emotion.

Dr. Blumberg points to, “Some gray matter decreases in the frontal lobe of the brain.”

It led to finding decreases in the structure, wiring and functioning of brain circuits.

Clues that could lead to early intervention and possibly prevention.

“One life is one life too many when it comes to adolescents and young adults who make suicide attempts,” says Psychiatrist Dr. Judah Weathers, who sees too many in the emergency department and in-patient care with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

He adds, “There is not a tremendous amount understood as to why this happens in certain individuals. And this research is a really important inroad at understanding in what brain causes maybe related to increased risks in certain youths.”

Meantime, Dr. Blumberg says the next step is following adolescents and young adults over time – to figure out which of the three brain differences has a direct link – to increasing the risk of suicide attempts.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s