HealthDay News — Rates of suicide are significantly higher for individuals diagnosed with a neurological disorder versus the general population, according to a study published in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Annette Erlangsen, Ph.D., from the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention at the Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, and colleagues examined national data for 7,300,395 individuals (≥15 years) living in Denmark from 1980 through 2016. Deaths by suicide were evaluated, including for the 1,248,252 individuals who sought medical care for neurological disorders.

The researchers identified 35,483 deaths by suicide (median duration of follow-up, 23.6 years; mean age, 51.9 years; 77.4 percent men); 14.7 percent of these patients had been diagnosed with a neurological disorder, yielding a suicide rate of 44.0 per 100,000 person-years compared with a rate of 20.1 per 100,000 person-years for individuals not diagnosed with a neurological disorder. The excess adjusted deaths were seen for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 4.9), Huntington disease (IRR, 4.9), multiple sclerosis (IRR, 2.2), head injury (IRR, 1.7), stroke (IRR, 1.3), and epilepsy (IRR, 1.7). Adjusted IRRs varied by time since diagnosis (IRR for one to three months: 3.1; IRR for ≥10 years, 1.5).

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“The absolute risk differences observed herein were small; hence, these findings do not necessarily warrant changing the management of treatment for individual patients with neurological diseases,” the authors write.


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