Flashmag Digizine Edition Issue 110 October 2020 - Page 102

Flashmag October 2020 www.flashmag.net

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A study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in 2011 found evidence that a specific gene is linked to suicidal behaviour, adding to our knowledge of the many complex causes of suicide. This research may help doctors one day target the gene in prevention efforts.

In the past, studies have implicated the gene for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in suicidal behaviour. BDNF is involved in the development of the nervous system.

After pooling results from 11 previous studies and adding their own study data involving people with schizophrenia, CAMH scientists confirmed that among people with a psychiatric diagnosis, those with the methionine ("met") variation of the gene had a higher risk of suicidal behaviour compared to those with the valine variation.

The review, published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, included data from 3,352 people, of whom 1,202 had a history of suicidal behaviour.

"Our findings may lead to the testing and development of treatments that target this gene in order to help prevent suicide," says Dr. James Kennedy, director of CAMH's Neuroscience Research Department. "In the future, if other researchers can replicate and extend our findings, then genetic testing may be possible to help identify people at increased risk for suicide."

Genetic and suicide

which genes are linked to suicidal behavior?