Suicide Attempts

Suicide Attempts; The largest genome wide association study (GWAS) to date on suicide attempt reveals that genetic liability to depression increases an individual’s risk for suicide attempt regardless of the psychiatric disorder they are affected by, according to the work led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published June 5 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Suicide is a worldwide public health problem with more than 800,000 deaths due to suicide each year. Suicide and suicide attempts have an emotional toll on families and friends of those who died, as well as on attempt survivors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that suicide costs the US economy $51 billion per year in medical costs for individuals and families, lost income for families, and lost productivity for employers.

Known suicide attempt

These stark figures highlight the urgent need for improve prevention and treatment; so yet progress has hamper by the lack of reliable methods; hence for predicting suicidality and a poor understanding of its biological etiology. Like many psychiatric disorders, suicide attempt is know to have a partially genetic underpinning; also genetic studies can provide invaluable insights into the underlying biology,” says Niamh Mullins, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychiatric Genomics.

Through the collective efforts of many researchers. They analyze the genomes of suicide attempters and non-attempters across three major psychiatric disorders. Our data show that suicide attempters with major depressive disorder; so bipolar disorder or a schizophrenia diagnosis carry a greater genetic liability; so for major depression than non-attempters.

Specifically, the current study compare the genomes of 6,569 suicide attempters and 17,232 non-attempters with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, an international collaboration for conducting large-scale genetic studies of psychiatric disorders. Samples were combine across 46 individual cohorts from Europe, the United States, and Australia.

The genetic liability

Using polygenic risk scores, which summarize an individual’s genetic liability to a disease based on the results of an independent genetic study, the research team show that suicide attempters carry an increase genetic liability for depression, regardless of the psychiatric disorder they are affected by.

These results indicate the existence of a shared genetic etiology; so between suicide attempt and major depression that is common to suicide attempt; so in different psychiatric disorders, says Dr. Mullins. Their study is the first consortium base GWAS on suicide attempt and makes significant progress in increasing numbers by combining samples across clinical cohorts.

However, further collaborative efforts to amass samples on an even larger scale; so will be essential to identify specific genetic variants which play a role in increasing risk of suicide attempt. This study provides novel insights into the genetic basis of suicide attempt. The ultimate goal of this research is to undercover the biological mechanisms; so underlying suicidality and develop new treatments and preventions, in order to reduce its burden on patients, families and healthcare systems.