Electroencephalographic risk markers of suicidal behaviour

Hodgkinson, Steve; Steyer, Jürgen; Kaschka, Wolfgang P.; Jandl, Martin (2016). Electroencephalographic risk markers of suicidal behaviour. In: Kaschka, W.P.; Rujescu, D. (eds.) Biological Aspects of Suicidal Behavior. Advances in Biological Psychiatry: Vol. 30 (pp. 101-109). Basel: Karger 10.1159/000434743

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Since its inception nearly 100 years ago, EEG (electroencephalography) has offered a non-invasive approach to recording the intrinsic electrical activity of the brain. Despite its limitations and the advent of brain imaging techniques with superior spatial resolution, the millisecond temporal resolution of EEG makes it a valuable diagnostic tool in many clinical disciplines, including psychiatry. In this chapter, we review its use in the assessment of suicide risk in psychiatric patients. After a general introduction to the technique itself, the first section considers the findings from numerous studies that have investigated paroxysmal EEG dysrhythmias such as small sharp spikes and other abnormal sleep parameters (rapid-eye movement latency and duration) in relation to suicidal behaviour. We then outline why changes in EEG patterns in response to a range of aural and visual stimuli (event-related potentials) might offer the most robust means of detecting facets of personality such as impulsiveness/aggressiveness that often underpin suicidal behaviour. Finally, we look at the wider aspects of using EEG data as a predictor of suicidal behaviour and why this is problematic at the moment. ln the chapter summary, we draw together the findings into these three areas of EEG research and consider whether there is a case for extending the use of EEG as a routine adjunct to other diagnostic approaches for identifying suicidal behaviour in psychiatric patients close to release from inpatient care.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Jandl, Martin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health






Advances in Biological Psychiatry






Martin Jandl

Date Deposited:

27 Feb 2017 11:14

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2017 11:14

Publisher DOI:




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