Prefrontal cortex, temporal cortex, and hippocampus volume are affected in suicidal psychiatric patients

Savannah N. Gosnell, Kenia M. Velasquez, David L. Molfese, Peter J. Molfese, Alok Madan, James Chris Fowler, B. Christopher Frueh, Philip R. Baldwin, Ramiro Salas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Suicide is a leading cause of death in America, with over 40,000 reported suicides per year. Mental illness is a major risk factor for suicidality. This study attempts to validate findings of volumetric differences from studies on suicidality. Psychiatric inpatients classified as having mildly severe or severe depression were separated into two groups: suicide attempted in the past two months (SA; n=20), non-suicidal control group (DA; n=20); these patients were all depressed and not significantly different for age, gender, race, marital status, education level, anxiety level, and substance abuse. Healthy controls (HC; n=20) were not significantly different from the suicidal groups for age and gender. Volunteers underwent MRI to assess volumes of cortical lobes, corpus callosum, and subcortical regions of interest, including the thalamus, insula, limbic structures, and basal ganglia. The right hippocampal volume of the SA group was significantly reduced compared to healthy controls. The frontal and temporal lobe volumes of the SA group were significantly decreased compared to the DA group. These volumetric reductions confirm previous findings and support the hypothesis that fronto-temporal function may be altered in suicidal patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
StatePublished - Oct 30 2016


  • Freesurfer
  • Frontal lobe
  • Hippocampus
  • Replication
  • Suicide
  • Temporal lobe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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