Monday, August 9, 2021

New Research Strengthens Relationship Between Genetics and Suicide


Scientists at the University of Utah Health are working on a study called the Utah Suicide Genetic Risk Study (USGRS) in order to further understand suicidal behavior in order to prevent more. For this study, they worked with the Medical Examiner's Office to get DNA from over eight thousand suicide victims and with the Utah Population Database to get medical, demographic, and genealogical data. They have found a few things so far. One is that they have identified five rare genetic variants that can help them identify genes associated with suicide. Rare variants can change proteins and genes and how they both function, which can influence the likelihood of a person committing suicide. Along with variants, they also found a pair of variants for a gene that also increase the likelihood. Neurexin-1 (NRXN1) regulates synapse activity in the brain. Variants for this can elevate the risk of suicide. They have also discovered that among those who suffer from bipolar disorder, those with prior trauma and with a genetic disposition for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at a greater risk of suicide. They found that these individuals are ten to thirty times more likely to commit. While researchers are still gathering this information, they do have to note that while a person may have these variants and genetic history, it does not mean that they will commit suicide, just that their risk is elevated.

1 comment:

  1. Lauren, This is very interesting that suicide is now linked to a gene variant and connecting the dots with this and PTSD. It is very sad that there are so many victims of suicide that we would have to go this far to synthesize proteins but at least scientists are working on making a change in society to combat this. I wonder what varient is so common for each individual suffering?