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. 2016 Apr;46(5):933-44.
doi: 10.1017/S0033291715002421. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

Cognitive Inhibition in Depression and Suicidal Behavior: A Neuroimaging Study


Cognitive Inhibition in Depression and Suicidal Behavior: A Neuroimaging Study

S Richard-Devantoy et al. Psychol Med. .


Background: Cognitive inhibition deficits have previously been found in suicide attempters. This study examined the neural basis for these deficits in depressed patients with and without a history of suicidal behavior.

Method: Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure brain activation during the Go/No-Go response inhibition task in 25 unmedicated and depressed middle-aged suicide attempters, 22 unmedicated depressed patient controls with no personal or family history of suicidal behavior, and 27 healthy controls. Whole-brain analyses were conducted with SPM12.

Results: Suicide attempters exhibited an elevated number of commission errors relative to both control groups. However, suicide attempters did not differ from patient controls in terms of brain activation for any contrast. Analyses showed a significant association between depression and brain activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus and medial thalamus during Go v. No-Go, and in the bilateral parietal cortex and left orbitofrontal cortex during No-Go v. baseline. These regions were correlated with psychological pain, suicidal ideation and global functioning. There was no association between brain activation and personal histories of suicidal act.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that deficits in cognitive inhibition, in relation to the inferior frontal gyrus, thalamus, orbitofrontal cortex and parietal cortex, are related to the depressive state and not specifically to suicide vulnerability. We hypothesize that state-related deficits may add to trait-like cognitive impairments to facilitate suicidal acts. These different types of cognitive impairments may necessitate different therapeutic strategies for the prevention of suicide.

Keywords: Cognitive inhibition; Go/No-Go test; depression; functional magnetic resonance imaging; suicide.

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