Blood Test Could Predict Suicide Risk

the MPR take:

Could a simple blood test help prevent suicide? A promising study in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that a mutation in the SKA2 gene may be involved in the brain’s role in responding to stress hormones; if levels of SKA2 are reduced, it could lead to suicidal ideation and attempts due to the inability to properly handle everyday stress. First, the researchers found that individuals who had completed suicide had significantly reduced levels of SKA2 in brain samples. They then located a genetic mutation that altered the SKA2 gene functioning without compromising the underlying DNA sequence and added higher levels of methylation. Blood samples were tested and it was discovered that methylation increased at SKA2 in individuals with suicidal thoughts or attempts. A model analysis was able to predict with 80% accuracy if an individual had experienced suicidal ideation or attempted suicide. Experts are optimistic that this test could help identify those at an increased risk of suicide and begin a prevention or treatment plan.

Could a blood test predict suicides?
Blood Test Could Predict Suicide Risk

(CNN) -- Approximately 36,000 deaths are caused by suicide each year in the United States. "With a test like ours, we may be able to stem suicide rates by identifying those people and intervening early enough to head off a catastrophe," said the study's lead author, Zachary Kaminsky, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine.

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