Completed suicide in an autopsy-confirmed case of early onset Alzheimer’s disease

Written by Jennifer Wiener Hartzell , Richard Geary , Kymberly Gyure , Venkata Ravi Chivukula & Marc W Haut

We report a case of a 57-year-old male with clinically diagnosed and autopsy-confirmed early onset Alzheimer’s disease who completed suicide by gunshot wound to the chest. This case has several unique aspects that have not been discussed in previous case reports of completed suicide in Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, our patient’s death was highly planned with successful compensation for his cognitive deficits. After all firearms had been removed from the home as a safety precaution, he obtained a new weapon, hid it and left himself cues to find and use it. The case is discussed in the context of literature differentiating the neural circuitry propagating impulsive versus planned suicidal acts.
We present a case of a 57-year-old, right-handed Caucasian male clinically diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which was confirmed on autopsy after he completed suicide in October 2014 by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He originally presented to our Medical School-based Memory Disorder Clinic in January 2013 with complaints of forgetfulness over the last 5 years. He was working full-time and performed all activities of daily living independently. In addition to slowly progressive memory concerns, he reported anhedonia, decreased energy, restless sleep, decreased appetite and unintentional weight loss, but did not endorse depressed mood.

Click here to read the full article from Neurodegenerative Disease Management.