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Affective Interference in Borderline Personality Disorder: The Lethality of Suicidal Behavior Predicts Functional Brain Profiles

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Affective Interference in Borderline Personality Disorder: The Lethality of Suicidal Behavior Predicts Functional Brain Profiles

Paul H Soloff et al. J Affect Disord.

Abstract

Background: Negative affective interference with executive cognition is associated with emotion dysregulation and behavioral dyscontrol in BPD, including a diathesis to suicidal and self-injurious behavior. While clinically well described, the neural basis of affective interference with central executive network function, and resulting suicidal behavior is poorly understood.

Method: In an fMRI study, 23 BPD suicide attempters completed an affectively modified Continuous Performance Task(X-CPT), in which targets and distractors were rendered on Negative, Positive and Neutral Ekman faces, with a Distorted image as a behavioral baseline. Responses to targets were contextualized by the affective context of the face. Lethality Rating Scale scores (LRS) were modeled as the primary regressor of interest on activation peaks, with HamD scores covaried.

Results: In the Negative vs. Neutral contrast, LRS scores were inversely related to activation in the ACC, parietal precuneus, BG and OFC, with no positive relationships. Results were similar in the Negative vs Positive contrast. In the Neutral vs. Positive contrast, activations were much less extensive, with mixed positive and negative relationships. Contextualizing responses based on the effects of valence decreased participant's ability to distinguish between targets and distracters; however, no differences were observed between valence contexts. fMRI-estimated effects were not confounded by differences in behavioral sensitivity across contexts.

Limitations: In this female-only sample, possible gender differences were not addressed.

Conclusions: With negative affective interference, increased lethality of suicidal behavior in BPD predicted diminished neural activation in areas critical to executive cognitive function. Therapies diminishing affective interference may reduce risk of suicidal behavior.

Keywords: Borderline personality disorder; Cognitive function; Negative affective interference; Suicidal behavior.

Conflict of interest statement

Author Disclosure

Declarations of Interest: none

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