Özlem Kaştan

Özlem Kaştan

Akdeniz University Faculty of Nursing, Turkey

Title: The role of thalamic size related to suicide risk in schizophrenia


Özlem Kaştan is a PhD, MS at the Anatomy. She is an Lecturer Dr at the department of Child Health and Disease Nursing in the Faculty of Nursing at Akdeniz University in Turkey. She graduated from nursing license. Having completed a Bachelor Master of Medical School Anatomy at Selçuk University in Turkey. Özlem Kaştan has completed her PhD at the age of 36 years from Medical School Anatomy of Gazi University. Her research has been focusing on gross anatomy, blood vessels and nerves anatomy. She is an experienced as academic staff member at the Medical School and Nursing Faculty who has taught at undergraduate levels. From 2000, she worked at the Akdeniz University Faculty of Nursing.


Individuals with schizophrenia are at a high risk for suicidal behavior. Suicide is a major cause of death in schizophrenia. The rate of suicide attempts in this group of individuals with schizophrenia is about 10-15% (Bulut ve al. 2012; Yüksel 2001). Various risk factors were reported to be implicated in suicide in schizophrenia. Suicide risk in schizophrenia is mainly related to affective symptoms, history of a suicide attempt and number of psychiatric admissions (Popovic ve al 2014). Schizophrenia adversely affect individual and causes to disturbance the emotions, thoughts, perceptions and behaviour of an individual. The disturbance of these functions in schizophrenia, together with evidence from post-mortem and neuroimaging studies of volume reduction and functional abnormalities, has implicated the thalamus as a nexus of defective circuits in schizophrenia (Bricman ve al 2004). Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data have provided much evidence in support of our current view that schizophrenia is a brain disorder with altered brain structure, and consequently involving more than a simple disturbance in neurotransmission.(Carley 1999). Patients with schizophrenia had significantly smaller thalamic areas at more ventral levels. Thalamic size was positively associated with frontal lobe and temporal lobe size. The effects were most marked in the patients with poorer clinical outcome. (Bricman ve ark 2004). A systematic review conducted by Richard-Devantoy et al. (2014) it was reported that patients with a history of suicidal acts showed volumetric reductions in left orbitofrontal and superior temporal cortices, while right amygdala volume was increased, though, these findings have rarely been replicated. Spoletini et al(2001) suggest that right amygdala hypertrophy may be a risk factor for suicide attempts in patients with schizophrenia and this could be relevant for suicide prevention. Brain alterations associated with schizophrenia, may predispose some patients to a higher risk of suicide in particular circumstances. The relationship of clinical symptoms to MRI findings must review, as is the growing evidence suggesting structural abnormalities in schizophrenia. However no firm conclusions can be drawn and further investigations are necessary. Identification of risk factors for suicide in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia is imperative to improve clinical management and develop strategies to reduce the incidence of suicide in schizophrenia.

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