Scientist work on learning what triggers suicidal thoughts

Millions of people who commit suicide worldwide every year never divulge their intentions or discuss their thoughts with a counselor. If there were a system of knowing the suicidal thoughts and tendencies of people, it would be possible to save at least 1 million lives every year. Alexander Niculescu, who works as a psychiatrist in Indianapolis University says that suicide is a tragedy that can be prevented. He is working to find biological signs associated with the risk of suicide.

As human brain is very complex and remains inaccessible, this search for biological signs among those who are at high risk of committing suicide currently focuses upon biomarkers. These molecular signs are able to predict people who are at a higher risk of committing suicide.

At present Niculescu and his associates have identified 6 biomarkers in the blood of the individuals and by conducting blood tests for these markets, it can be said that a person has suicidal tendencies or not. This path breaking work has been given a place in the journal called Molecular Psychiatry.

Niculescu and his associates studied people who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and switched between no suicidal tendencies to high tendencies to suicide. The team searched for signs among these people’s blood, and finally found biomarkers that were clearly associated with suicidal tendencies.

These biomarkers were checked against signs that were previously found associated with mental illness and suicide. The team finally came up with 41 signs that were clearly associated with suicidal tendencies. These biomarkers were given ranking according to the likelihood of suicide.

The team checked these biomarkers with the blood samples of individuals who had actually committed suicide earlier. This allowed them to cut down many of the signs and they finally prepared a list of 13 signs. More rigorous testing further reduced these signs to 6 most likely to be found among men with suicidal tendencies.