In a groundbreaking discovery, a global coalition of brilliant minds in science has unearthed a dozen elusive DNA variants tightly linked to suicide attempts. This research brings us closer to finding medicine to prevent this heart-wrenching tragedy.
Suicide has long been a dark mystery with little scientific explanation. Now, a group of scientists have finally cracked it open and revealed some of its secrets. What they found out might surprise you.
Genetic Variants and Their Far-Reaching Connections
The genetic variants linked to suicide attempts surpassed the boundaries of mental health alone. It was linked with an array of other health conditions, from psychiatric disorders to physical ailments and even behaviors.
The genetic risk for suicide intertwines with a myriad of health factors
Variety of Health Factors
Impulsivity, smoking, chronic pain, pulmonary conditions, ADHD, and heart disease have been genetically linked to suicide.
Smoking and Lung-Related Illnesses
Docherty says. “It showed significant overlap with mental health conditions, but also a lot of physical health conditions, particularly for smoking and lung-related illnesses.”
Complex and Extensive
Suicide’s complexity extends beyond a single cause, revealing an intricate web of genetic factors at play. Its genetic footprint is trackable within our genetic map.
Dr. Anna Docherty explains how “tiny genetic effects, when aggregated, form a potent genetic risk.”
How Did They Discover This
The huge size of this genetic investigation was the result of a remarkable collaboration among renowned institutions worldwide, including the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, just to name a couple.
United, they meticulously dissected data from diverse global populations.
Looking at the Data
Researchers applied sophisticated statistical techniques to a vast dataset, merging information from the Million Veteran Program (MVP) and the International Suicide Genetics Consortium (ISGC).
This monumental effort incorporated 43,871 documented suicide attempts and 915,025 ancestry-matched controls.
Insight Into Prevention
Many of the identified genes control critical cellular processes, such as stress management, DNA repair, and immune system communication.
These genes are predominantly active in the brain and are targets of psychotropic medications.
New Avenues for Suicide Prevention
Finding genetic links between suicide and various health factors opened new doors for assessing and mitigating suicide risk.
Dr. Docherty envisions these findings as a catalyst for identifying promising drug targets to enhance suicide prevention efforts.
Not Proof of Causation
While the study establishes associations between genetic variants and suicide risk, it still doesn’t prove causation. Further research is required to ascertain the precise mechanisms linking these genetic variations to suicide attempts.
When it comes to suicide, one constant prevails. The power of knowledge to reshape our understanding and experiences. The genetic study of suicide opens new avenues for prevention.
Shaping the Future
The study’s findings mark a critical step in reshaping our understanding and approach to suicide, offering hope for a future with fewer lives lost to this tragic phenomenon.
Hillary Coon, Ph.D., co-author of the study and professor of psychiatry at HMHI, notes that having these conditions don’t automatically put you in a high risk of suicide category.
Exploring the Biological Underpinnings
Docherty says, “We want to start to explore the biological underpinnings that are common across suicide and these health factors because that will lead to the most convincing drug targets.”
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This post Life-Changing Findings? New Genetic Links Uncovered Between Suicide Attempts and Various Health Factors first appeared on Wealthy Living.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Natali _ Mis. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.