Can a blood test predict suicide risk?
Identifying potential suicide victims can be a difficult and emotionally trying task. But new research from the Indiana University School of Medicine indicates that a simple blood test could help evaluate suicide risk through the analysis of RNA biomarkers found in the blood. Certain chemicals were found in significantly higher levels in the blood of bipolar patients with thoughts of suicide and in people who had actually committed suicide.
This study investigated a large group of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder over a three-year period, complete with interviews and blood samples every three to six months. The researchers conducted a variety of analyses on the blood, and investigated gene expression between "low" and "high" states of suicidal thoughts. The researchers found that marker SAT1 and a series of other biomarkers provided a strong biological link with suicidal thoughts. And this information correlated with blood samples taken from people who had had suicide-related hospitalizations.
The study authors concluded that these biomarkers reflect more than just current state of mind, and that they could correlate with long term risk. The next step of the research, according to the authors, is to evaluate how the results translate across demographic groups.