Are Patients with Chronic Infections at a Higher Risk for Suicide?
OCT 27, 2017 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF
Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA, private practice, Psychiatry, in Red Bank, New Jersey, explains why patients with chronic infections are at increased risk for suicide.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability):
If we look at the question of whether infections are related to suicide, and look through the medical literature, there’s some literature on toxoplasmosis and suicide. And then, there was recently some research in Scandinavia, where they looked at a large database of patients, and patients who were recently hospitalized had a higher incidence of suicide. Also, people with pulmonary conditions, so it does appear that chronic infections correlated statistically with a higher rate of suicide, compared to people who, in a matched control, did not have these chronic infections.
That can be explained by the physiology. When someone has a chronic infection, it provokes the immune system, they’re in a more pro-inflammatory state, and that has a cascade of effects. Increasing, usually, quinolinic acid, which is neurotoxic and that can impact glutamate function, and, that in turn, seems to affect neural circuitry, with the orbitofrontal cortex, the cingulate, the amygdala circuit can then be impaired, and you see this correlation with infections, immune provocation, dysfunction of neural circuitry, and higher risk for suicide.
Of course, many things contribute to suicide, or deter us, or acutely trigger it, but this is one cause that we previously never paid attention to that we need to pay more attention to.”
To stay informed on the latest in infectious disease news and developments, please sign upfor our weekly newsletter.
We break down our top HIV news stories of 2017. Did you read them all?
Contagion® is a fully integrated news resource covering all areas of infectious disease. Through our website, quarterly journal, email newsletters, social media outlets, and Outbreak Monitor we provide practitioners and specialists with disease-specific information designed to improve patient outcomes and assist with the identification, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases. Our mission is to assure that the healthcare community and public have the knowledge to make more informed choices and have a positive impact on patient outcomes.
2 Clarke Drive
Cranbury, NJ 08512