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Simple blood test may predict risk of suicide | Updated: 2014-08-01 10:34

Simple blood test may predict risk of suicide

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Simple blood test may predict risk of suicide

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In the following experiments, the researchers tested blood samples of 325 participants and found similar methylation increases at SKA2 in individuals with suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Based on the findings, they designed a model analysis that predicted which of the participants were experiencing suicidal thoughts or had attempted suicide with 80 percent certainty.

The SKA2 gene is found in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in inhibiting negative thoughts and controlling impulsive behavior.

If there isn't enough SKA2, or it is altered in some way, human brain cannot suppress the release of a hormone called cortisol. Previous research has shown that such cortisol release is abnormal in people who attempt or die by suicide.

If confirmed in larger studies, a blood test based on these findings could help doctors make decisions to prevent a tragedy, like the need for hospitalization, closeness of monitoring, or restricting patients' access to certain medications that have been linked with suicidal thoughts.

"We have found a gene that we think could be really important for consistently identifying a range of behaviors from suicidal thoughts to attempts to completions," Kaminsky said. "We need to study this in a larger sample but we believe that we might be able to monitor the blood to identify those at risk of suicide."

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