A new study has found a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress reactions which could give doctors a simple blood test to reliably predict a person's risk of attempting suicide.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have suggested that changes in a gene involved in the function of the brain's response to stress hormones play a significant role in turning what might otherwise be an unremarkable reaction to the strain of everyday life into suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
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Study leader Zachary Kaminsky said that suicide is a major preventable public health problem but prevention efforts are hindered as there are no consistent ways to identify those who are at increased risk of killing themselves, but this test may be able to stem suicide rates by identifying those people and intervening early enough to head off a catastrophe.
The study was published in The American Journal of Psychiatry.