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Suicide rates increase with age in the population aged over 65 years. The aims of this study were to (i) report the characteristics of older people who died by suicide; and (ii) investigate whether these characteristics differ in three age bands: 65–74 years, 75–84 years, and 85+ years.
Using information from national coroner records, relevant socio-demographic and clinical factors in all suicides (age ≥ 65 years; n = 225) from July 2007 to December 2012 in New Zealand were analyzed and compared in the three age bands.
We found the older the person, the more likely they are to be widowed but the less likely to have a past psychiatric admission or recent contact with psychiatric services in the month prior to suicide. However, most of the older people (61.7% of 65–74 years, 65.6% of 75–84 years, and 77.3% of 85+ years) had contact with their general practitioner within one month of suicide. Women were less likely to use violent methods than men in all three age bands but with increasing age, men were less likely to use violent methods.
Suicide characteristics in older people differ by age. The oldest people who die by suicide are not necessarily under psychiatric services and may benefit from a primary care-based approach in which there is screening for depression and suicide risk.
A past history of self-harm is a significant risk factor for suicide in older people. The aims of this study are to (i) characterize older people who present with self-harm to emergency departments (EDs); and (ii) determine the predictors for repeat self-harm and suicide.
Demographic and clinical data were retrospectively collected on older people (age 65+ years), who presented to seven EDs in New Zealand following an episode of self-harm between 1st July 2010 and 30th June 2013. In addition, 12-month follow-up information on repeat self-harm and suicide was collected.
The sample included 339 older people (55.2% female) with an age range of 65–96 years (mean age = 75.0; SD = 7.6). Overdose (68.7%) was the most common method of self-harm. 76.4% of the self-harm cases were classified as suicide attempts. Perceived physical illness (47.8%) and family discord (34.5%) were the most common stressors. 12.7% of older people repeated self-harm and 2.1% died by suicide within 12 months. Older people who had a positive blood alcohol reading (OR = 3.87, 95% Cl = 1.35–11.12, p = 0.012) and were already with mental health services at the index self-harm (OR = 2.73, 95% Cl = 1.20–6.25, p = 0.047) were more likely to repeat self-harm/suicide within 12 months.
Older people who self-harm are at very high risk of repeat self-harm and suicide. Screening and assessment for alcohol use disorders should be routinely performed following a self-harm presentation, along with providing structured psychological treatment as an adjunct to pharmacological treatment for depression and interventions to improve the person's resilience resources.
Temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with a significant risk of psychosis but there are only limited studies investigating the underlying neurobiology.
To characterise neuroanatomical changes in temporal lobe epilepsy and comorbid psychosis.
The study population comprised all individuals with temporal lobe epilepsy on the epilepsy database at the National Centre for Epilepsy and Epilepsy Neurosurgery in Ireland (Beaumont Hospital) between 2002 and 2006. Ten people with temporal lobe epilepsy with psychosis were matched for age, gender, handedness, epilepsy duration, seizure laterality, severity of epilepsy and anti-epileptic medication with ten comparison participants with temporal lobe epilepsy only. Participants received a magnetic resonance imaging scan and voxel-based morphometry analyses were applied to grey and white matter anatomy.
Significant grey matter reduction was found bilaterally in those with temporal lobe epilepsy with psychosis in the temporal lobes in the inferior, middle and superior temporal gyri and fusiform gyri, and unilaterally in the left parahippocampal gyrus and hippocampus. Significant extra-temporal grey matter reduction was found bilaterally in the insula, cerebellum, caudate nuclei and in the right cingulum and left inferior parietal lobule. Significant white matter reduction in those with temporal lobe epilepsy with psychosis was found bilaterally in the hippocampus, parahippocampal/fusiform gyri, middle/inferior temporal gyri, cingulum, corpus callosum, posterior thalamic radiation, anterior limb of internal capsule and white matter fibres from the caudate nuclei, and unilaterally in the left lingual gyrus and right midbrain and superior temporal gyrus.
Significant grey and white matter deficits occur in temporal lobe epilepsy with psychosis. These encompass the medial temporal lobe structures but also extend to lateral temporal and extra-temporal regions. Some of these deficits overlap with those found in schizophrenia.