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Suicide is a puzzle. Fewer than 10 percent of people with depression attempt suicide, and about 10% of those who kill themselves were never diagnosed with any mental-health condition.
Now, a study is trying to determine what happens in the brain when a person attempts suicide, and what sets such people apart. The results could help researchers to understand whether suicide is driven by certain brain biology — and is not just a symptom of a recognized mental disorder.
The project will recruit 50 people who have attempted suicide in the two weeks before enrolling in the study. Carlos Zarate, a psychiatrist at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues will compare these people’s brain structure and function to that of 40 people who attempted suicide more than a year ago, 40 people with depression or anxiety who have never attempted suicide and a control group of 40 healthy people. In doing so, the researchers hope to elucidate the brain mechanisms associated with the impulse to kill oneself.
There is already evidence that genetics influences a person’s suicide risk. For instance, biological relatives of adopted children who kill themselves are several times more likely to take their lives than the general population.
Read full, original post: Brain Study Seeks Roots of Suicide