NPR

Brain Patterns May Predict People At Risk Of Suicide

A computer program learned to identify people thinking about suicide by studying brain activity patterns associated with words like "death" and "trouble."
Source: Gary Waters

People who are thinking about killing themselves appear to have distinctive brain activity that can now be measured by a computer.

In these people, words like "death" and "trouble" produce a distinctive "neural signature" not found in others, scientists report in the journal Nature Human Behavior. More than 44,000 people commit suicide in the U.S. each year.

"There really is a difference in the way [suicidal] people, an author of the paper and the D. O. Hebb professor of cognitive neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
Brad Pitt On Making 'Ad Astra,' Processing Trauma And Channeling David Bowie
The actor stars in a new science-fiction blockbuster about more than just an astronaut on a space mission: "We wanted to do something very sincere and raw and painfully honest," he says.
NPR5 min read
He's Trying To Fill In The Gaps On Google Street View — Starting With Zimbabwe
Not every corner of the world is yet on Google Street View. Tawanda Kanhema sees these gaps as a kind of digital divide, so he volunteers to photograph and upload some of the places left off the map.
NPR2 min readPolitics
British Oil Tanker Seized By Iran Will Be Released Soon, Iranian Official Says
The Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 for alleged marine violations. Iranian maritime officials have given no set date for its release.