About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

One Step Ahead of Blood Test for Suicide: US Scientists

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on August 1, 2014 at 10:40 PM
Font : A-A+

 One Step Ahead of Blood Test for Suicide: US Scientists

A gene mutation has been identified by US scientists that appears to be common in people who attempt or commit suicide, a finding that could lead to a blood test to predict risk.

The discovery is based on a small study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and was published on Wednesday in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Advertisement

"We have no consistent way to predict those who are at increased risk of killing themselves," said lead author Zachary Kaminsky, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"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."
Advertisement

Such a test is years away from being widely available to the public.

For now, researchers say they have found a chemical change in a single gene, called SKA2, which is linked to how the brain responds to stress hormones.

This gene "plays a significant role in turning what might otherwise be an unremarkable reaction to the strain of everyday life into suicidal thoughts and behaviors," said the study.

Researchers found it by examining brain samples from people who had killed themselves, and found that levels of SKA2 were significantly reduced compared to healthy people.

They also tested blood samples from 325 people in a prevention study at JHU and found that changes in the gene could predict with 80 percent certainty those who were experiencing suicidal thoughts or who had attempted suicide.

Among certain groups, the accuracy of the test was even higher.

"Those with more severe risk of suicide were predicted with 90 percent accuracy," said the study.

"In the youngest data set, they were able to identify with 96 percent accuracy whether or not a participant had attempted suicide, based on blood test results."

The SKA2 gene works to inhibit negative thoughts and control impulsive actions. When there isn't enough of it, or it is altered, the brain releases abnormal levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Previous studies have shown that people who try to kill themselves, or who commit suicide, have an abnormal cortisol release.

Kaminsky said more research is needed to determine if a blood test could predict suicide in a larger group of people.

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Thalassemia Varicocele Quiz on Depression Testicle Pain - Symptom Evaluation Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation Bombay Blood Group 

Recommended Reading
Organophosphorus Poisoning
Organosphosphorus compounds are used as insecticides and chemical warfare. They are easily ......
Depression Symptom Evaluation
Depression occurs due to alterations in the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. ...
Parents' Suicide Attempt Might Prompt Teenagers
The risk of youngsters attempting suicide is higher if a parent has been treated for mental illness ...
The Saga Of Suicide Among Mental Health Patients
Among mental health patients treated at home by crisis resolution home treatment teams (CRHT)*, the ...
Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation
Blood in stools results from bleeding that arises from any part of the digestive tract. Causes of bl...
Bombay Blood Group
Bombay blood group is a rare blood type in which the people have an H antigen deficiency. They can r...
Testicle Pain - Symptom Evaluation
A sudden, severe pain in the testis may be due to testicular torsion. Testicles inside the scrotum a...
Thalassemia
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed on through parental genes causing the body to prod...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use