Neural Circuitry Predictors of Suicide Risk in Adolescents and Young Adults with Bipolar Disorder
Hilary Blumberg, M.D., Yale School of Medicine
2014 Standard Research Grant
Inside the Research
Bio: Dr. Blumberg received her medical degree from the Cornell University Medical College in 1990. She is currently Professor of Psychiatry and Diagnostic Radiology at Yale School of Medicine as well as Professor in Yale’s Child Study Center.
Grant Categories: Neurobiological studies, brain functioning studies, child and adolescent studies
Abstract: Bipolar Disorder (BD) is associated with increased risk for suicide, with estimates that up to 50% of individuals with BD attempt suicide in their lifetime. In addition, suicide is a leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults. Research on the development of suicidal behavior in youth with BD is needed. Dr. Blumberg examines the relationship between brain development and the development of suicidal behavior in adolescents and young adults with BD. She uses brain imaging techniques such as fMRI, sMRI and DTI, and psychosocial assessments to re-examine 100 13-22 year olds who had previously participated in brain imaging and psychosocial research at Yale University. Her study includes an examination of the impact of childhood maltreatment, substance abuse, and gender related factors. Of the 100 participants who all have been diagnosed with BD, without initial suicide attempt it is estimated that over the course of the study approximately 20 participants will attempt suicide, and 80 participants will either be completely healthy (n=20) or suffer from BD and no suicide attempt (n=60). Using measures at baseline and 3 years later, Dr. Blumberg’s study will test for neural circuitry abnormalities, long-term neural pathways, and associations among brain function, suicide attempts, substance abuse and child maltreatment.
Impact: Improved understanding of brain development among adolescents with bipolar disorder to inform early identification of suicide risk.