Poster E124, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Neurocognitive markers of suicidal ideation
Alex Mitko1,4, Regina McGlinchey1,2,4, Melissa Amick1,3,4, Michael Esterman1,3,4; 1VA Boston Healthcare System, 2Harvard Medical School, 3Boston University School of Medicine, 4Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders (TRACTS)
Suicides in the U.S. have increased steadily over the past 15 years and in 2015 there were more than twice the number of suicides than homicides. The high suicide rate has led to increased research to identify risk factors, such as suicidal ideation (SI), in order to introduce clinical interventions before an attempt. However, this research has mostly utilized self-report measures that are often subject to under-reporting. The purpose of the current study was to develop objective cognitive and neural markers of suicidal ideation. Identification of these neurocognitive markers could be used in complement with subjective measures to improve diagnostic accuracy of suicide risk, as well as reveal neurocognitive mechanisms of SI. Specifically, we examined functional connectivity and performance during concurrent fMRI and gradCPT, a well-validated measure of sustained attention and inhibitory control, in a sample of post-deployed, trauma-exposed Veterans, at high risk for suicidality. We compared Veterans with and without SI, and considered the effects of depression and PTSD upon these markers. Behaviorally, the SI group exhibited greater fluctuations in attention and a higher rate of inhibitory control errors. In addition, machine-learning models were able to classify SI from controls above chance, based on patterns of functional connectivity across several large-scale brain networks. These diagnostic connections were predominantly located in cognitive and emotional control networks, including executive, dorsal attention, and salience networks. This research has important implications for how cognitive neuroscience techniques can be used to identify neural fingerprints of suicide risk, which can serve as biomarkers for interventions.
Topic Area: OTHER