Neurocognitive vulnerability: suicidal and homicidal behaviours in patients with schizophrenia.

TitleNeurocognitive vulnerability: suicidal and homicidal behaviours in patients with schizophrenia.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRichard-Devantoy S, Orsat M, Dumais A, Turecki G, Jollant F
JournalCan J Psychiatry
Date Published2014 Jan
KeywordsBrain, Cognition Disorders, Homicide, Humans, Schizophrenia, Suicide

OBJECTIVE: Schizophrenia is associated with an increase in the risk of both homicide and suicide. The objectives of this study were to systematically review all published articles that examined the relation between neurocognitive deficits and suicidal or homicidal behaviours in schizophrenia, and to identify vulnerabilities in suicidal and homicidal behaviour that may share a common pathway in schizophrenia.METHODS: A systematic review of the literature was performed using MEDLINE to include all studies published up to August 31, 2012.RESULTS: Among the 1760 studies, 7 neuropsychological and 12 brain imaging studies met the selection criteria and were included in the final analysis. The neuropsychological and functional neuroimaging studies were inconclusive. The structural imaging studies reported various alterations in patients with schizophrenia and a history of homicidal behaviour, including: reduced inferior frontal and temporal cortices, increased mediodorsal white matter, and increased amygdala volumes. Patients with a history of suicidal acts showed volumetric reductions in left orbitofrontal and superior temporal cortices, while right amygdala volume was increased, though, these findings have rarely been replicated. Finally, no study has directly compared neurocognitive markers of suicidal and homicidal risk.CONCLUSION: These results suggest that brain alterations, in addition to those associated with schizophrenia, may predispose some patients to a higher risk of homicide or suicide in particular circumstances. Moreover, some of these alterations may be shared between homicidal and suicidal patients. However, owing to several limitations, including the small number of available studies, no firm conclusions can be drawn and further investigations are necessary.

Alternate JournalCan J Psychiatry
PubMed ID24444320
PubMed Central IDPMC4079223
Grant List / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada