Suicide is one of the leading causes of premature death in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients. The understanding of suicidal behaviour (SB) is limited, and new and integrative approaches focusing on the likely relationship of the biological and cognitive features of SB in the early phases of psychosis are warranted. We aimed to study the relationship of brain grey matter anomalies and cognitive functioning with SB or suicidal risk in a large sample of non-affective FEP patients.
We used a voxel-based morphometry analysis in 145 FEP patients to investigate the pattern of structural brain abnormalities related to SB. In addition, bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to explore the relationship between cognitive functioning and SB.
A reduction in grey matter volume in the frontal area, temporal gyrus, precuneus, uncus, amygdala, left cuneus and subcallosal gyrus as well as a marked regional volume reduction in the right hemisphere was linked with the presence of SB. Additionally, worse global cognitive functioning and living in urban areas were identified as suicide risk factors.
This study provides some insights about the brain abnormalities associated with SB in FEP patients. Specifically, the areas reported are involved in important functions related to SB, such as impulsivity, problem solving or responses to pain. Thus, the results confirm the relevant role of cognitive functioning on SB.
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