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Blood is an intriguing fluid when it comes to what it can potentially reveal about how the human or animal brain works. A new study suggests we might be able to say which person is more prone to suicide from a simple blood test. The suicide blood test indicates that some chemical changes in a blood sample show its owner might try to kill himself, because those changes are associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Lead researcher of the study, Zachary Kaminsky, who works at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said that this test might be useful in early stages of intervention, in order to know how to prevent persons to act suicidal. With a current health problem like suicide, this test is seen by Kaminsky as a solution for a systematic strategy for prediction and prevention. The study consisted of analyzing changes of a gene called SKA2, responsible for the control of negative thoughts and of impulsive behaviors. This gene is also related to the activity of cortisol, the stress hormone. When the gene is modified, the cortisol is not working properly, thus altering people’s reactions. In this study the researchers basically assessed levels of SKA2 in healthy people’s brains, compared to levels of SKA2 in mentally ill people’s brains. They concluded that people who committed suicide had lower levels of SKA2 in their brains.
Suicide Blood Test Works Because of Gene Responsible For Controlling Negative Thoughts
Following their findings, the researchers designed a test that allowed them to accurately identify people who were going to kill themselves with 80% certainty. Apparently the test is even more accurate if suicidal thoughts are more intense.
For the medial practice the results were considered promising by Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital, but at the same time he was not only optimistic, but also a little bit skeptic when considering the sample of their study, which was too small to generalize the findings.
Dr. Manevitz, according to CBS News, indicated that the idea of a suicide blood test was a tempting one, but that it was difficult to believe that such a complex behavior that included depression and ongoing suffering could only be explained through dysfunctionalities of a modified gene.
Some applied benefits might find their users among military service member, who, after deployment from service, are one of the most affected groups with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.