Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Genetic link to suicide risk

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have identified a gene that could be linked to an increased risk of attempting suicide. The researchers studied 2,698 people with bipolar disorder, 1,201 of whom had a history of suicide attempts. Those with one copy of a genetic variation on chromosome 2 were 1.4x as likely to have attempted suicide while those with two variations were almost three times as likely. The gene involved - ACP1 - leads to increased levels of a protein called ACP1 in the brains of people who had committed suicide. The protein is thought to influence the same biological pathway - albeit in a different direction - as lithium, a drug known to reduce the rate of suicidal behaviour.

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