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Predictors of Suicidal Behavior Found In Blood

timothy posted about a year ago | from the advances-in-pre-crime dept.

Biotech 209

ananyo writes "Researchers may have found a way to potentially predict suicidal behaviour by analyzing someone's blood. Using blood samples taken by the coroner from nine men who had committed suicide, they found six molecular signs, or biomarkers, that they say can identify people at risk of committing suicide. To check whether these biomarkers could predict hospitalizations related to suicide or suicide attempts, the researchers analysed gene-expression data from 42 men with bipolar disorder and 46 men with schizophrenia. When the biomarkers were combined with clinical measures of mood and mental state, the accuracy with which researchers could predict hospitalizations was more than 80% (abstract)."

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209 comments

Hmmm... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44617857)

Can we get these people on the organ donation list?

Re:Hmmm... (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44618811)

Hilarious. But more realistically, let's find out what drug they're being given that's killing them, and develop a counter-agent.

Re:Hmmm... (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44619057)

They were on a wide range of drugs, I'm afraid; it's in the supplementary notes. The group of people they were studying (bipolar disorder patients) are pretty high-risk, medication or no.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44619509)

Well, I was pointing to something a little more sinister, but yeah, you could read my comments that way, sure. ;-)

Let's Test Everyone... (1, Interesting)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44617897)

...and mandate drugs to counteract whatever ails them.

Like in Larry Niven's Known Space series; registered schizophrenics were required to be medicated or face liquidation in the organ banks.

Or as in Brave New World, or THX-1138. Those worked out well.

Re:Let's Test Everyone... (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year ago | (#44618805)

Maybe that step is unnecessary, as the blood markers derive from the drugs that have already been prescribed to those likely depressed people.

STAY OFF MY LAWN (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44617927)

I don't want to live in a world that will prevent me from committing suicide.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618219)

If anything this needs to be modded "Funny".

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619273)

Oh, come on modders! Don't you see the black humour irony of GP?

(And yes, even on deadly serious topics such as this, a little humour actually helps serious discussion along.)

((Oh, and as added irony, the AC human check as I post this comment is "depress".))

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619555)

Funny doesn't grant Karma, Interesting does.

Therefore its a Mod choice to give someone something for making them laugh.

I disagree (3, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44618241)

I have a family member whom has mental health issues and she was suicidal for a good year in her early 20s, until she got on the right medication. Now she lives a productive life and is happy. Some mental issues can be solved with medication!

Re:I disagree (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44618357)

It's a shame the proper use of who vs whom can't.

Re:I disagree (1)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | about a year ago | (#44618369)

Coffee. Splat. Monitor.

Re:I disagree (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44618619)

Send me the bill. That's totally my fault.

Re:I disagree (2, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44618953)

Who vs. whom, what are you, British? While you're at it, why not complain using "you" instead of having the separate subject and object forms, thou and thee. Sorry, but subject/object forms in English have been dying for around 1000 years. It ain't German anymore. It's become an analytic rather than a synthetic language.

P.S. Couldn't help myself. Nothing more fun than outdoing the pedantry of someone else.

P.P.S. Next time let's discuss the singular "they", and how it was absurd to try and impose Latin rules on English.

Re:I disagree (1)

Prune (557140) | about a year ago | (#44619577)

Can someone explain to me why "try and" seems to have become so popular? It makes no logical sense as a replacement for "try to", and appears to be favored over the latter for purely euphonic reasons.

Re:I disagree (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44619881)

Idioms don't have to make sense when taken literally.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619943)

Not only do they not have to make sense when taken literally, they have to NOT make sense when taken literally.
OK, since this is the pedantic thread, they can make sense, but have to mean something different than the literal meaning.
Otherwise they would just be expressions, not idiomatic expressions.

Re:I disagree (2)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#44619975)

Can someone explain to me why "try and" seems to have become so popular? It makes no logical sense as a replacement for "try to", and appears to be favored over the latter for purely euphonic reasons.

OTOH, if your logic tree isn't getting the results you expected, delete an OR and....

try AND

. //rimshot

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44620129)

To be fair, it's not "try and" it's " try n' "

MUR'CA!

Re:I disagree (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44618965)

Easy: Never use whom.

Re:I disagree (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44618987)

To whom are you addressing that remark?

Re:I disagree (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44619083)

Well, perhaps electroshock therapy isn't totally obsolete...

Re:I disagree (1)

niado (1650369) | about a year ago | (#44619795)

Well, perhaps electroshock therapy isn't totally obsolete...

As funny as that is, I have a family member who was treated with EST [wikipedia.org] last year (2012). I was flabbergasted at the time, but evidently it is still used in some cases. The same family member was also treated with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation [wikipedia.org] this year (2013). This was also surprising to me, as I was under the assumption that magnetic therapies were homeopathic.

Re:I disagree (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44620123)

The Magnetic Therapies used as actual treatments are extremely powerful, and specifically target devices.
However, the data is still weak, and Neuropsychopharmacology did a great break down on the FDA post hoc reasoning.

The shit you where on your wrist or in your shoe have no effect.

Re:I disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618385)

Come on, if she was "suicidal" she'd be dead instead of putting on a show for an entire year! Guns may be too complicated, but even a woman can figure out how to walk off a building/bridge.

Re:I disagree (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44619035)

You wouldn't say that if you understood English. From our good friends, Mssrs. Merriam & Webster:

Suicidal: marked by an impulse to commit suicide.

Re:I disagree (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619223)

You have obviously never had suicidal thoughts before.

I can maybe put in terms that you can understand though.
Have you ever fantasized about a delicious cake and imagined putting that cake in your mouth and how sweet it would taste?
Maybe you'll be sitting at your desk working on something and suddenly thoughts of cake will pop into your mind and you'll have the urge to go find something to eat?
You're kind of occupied and these annoying thoughts of food keep popping into your mind!

Suicidal thoughts are kind of like that. You'll fantasize about what it would be like to go through with it.
You'll randomly have the urge to do harm to yourself even if you're preoccupied with something else and have no intention of harming yourself.
You'll be reading a book and suddenly have an urge to take a knife and stab it into your throat. You'll know this isn't rational.
You will even know that this is not how you would execute the task if you actually put your mind to it. But you just can't help being hungry for it.

That's what it can be like. I imagine a lot of people may end up eventually killing themselves simply because such thoughts wear them down and the lure of nothingness offers an escape.

Disclaimer: I do not suffer from such things and am not in need of help. Please do not be alarmed.

Re:I disagree (1)

ogdenk (712300) | about a year ago | (#44619237)

Guns are actually incredibly simply to operate. And a simple single shot 12 gauge shotgun with a short barrel will only set you back maybe $150. Pop in shell, close barrel, pull hammer, squeeze trigger.... *BLAM*

And why are calling women stupid? My wife is actually a damn good shot. And quite mechanically inclined.

And not all suicidal people that haven't brought themselves to do it yet are "putting on a show". A lot of them genuinely want to die but are afraid of the pain involved in death and it takes a while to build the courage.

Re:I disagree (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year ago | (#44619397)

You have to realize that suicidal for woman is more of a call for help. Women tend to use methods that permit escape or discovery before death. Suicidal for men is more time to go, where's my gun?

Statistically woman attempt suicide more often than men. But men die at a much higher rate.

[John]

Re:I disagree (4, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#44619773)

Imagine having to make a rational decision as to the benefits and costs of continued existence, Most people, aside from the very aged and the very depressed would value continued existence quite highly. Now imagine that you were suffering from a mental condition that exaggerated the costs, and downplayed the benefits, such that every day you took time out of your life to seriously contemplate this otherwise laughable dilemma. What if the only thing preventing the suicide was logistical? What if you worried about how hard it would for someone to find your body and clean up the blood and brains? Is that sort of concern really a sign of a healthy mind?

"My life is worthless, but I don't want to be a bother?"

Re:I disagree (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44618607)

I was on antidepressants when I was depressed as a teenager and they helped. I think antidepressants shouldn't have the negative connotation that they do have. Big pharma pushing them for everything is despicable, but they have their uses. I'm glad I didn't commit suicide, I think the vast majority of people who do commit suicide have no good reason to, and should be stopped.

That said, I agree with GP. The government should have no say in whether or not I can end my life, be it euthanasia or depression, if I'm somehow being logical about it. I can't blame family members and/or friends from stopping people from killing themselves, but it's still a right.

Re:I disagree (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44618749)

I agree it shouldn't be illegal in certain situations, such as incurable painful diseases. However, in some cases the person is not in a logical mind-frame and should be forcibly hospitalized instead of giving them a gun.

Re:I disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618855)

forcibly hospitalized

Liberals: "That's not nice!"
Conservatives: "That's too expensive!"

It'll never get done.

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619091)

For every mental problem that is solved by medication, there are 1000 cases where medication isn't justified, but is prescribed anyway.

There's a reason why the past decade has seen an onslaught of commercials hawking anti-depressants and similar medication: because it's an absolute cash cow.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44618267)

You already do, but you're too ignorant to realize it. There are only a couple countries where suicide is legal.

I'm all for letting people commit suicide. Its great for the gene pool. It gets rid of all the pussies who can't deal with reality. People like yourself, that think suicide is an acceptable path in life should do it and prove me wrong. The sooner you do, the better off we'll all be for a whole shitload of reasons. There really is nothing logical about suicide. If you aren't dead, there is a potential for something to change. If you are dead, thats it, you no longer exist, it doesn't get better, it just goes away and so do you. I understand people who kill themselves due to medical issues, but that doesn't make it okay, it just means we failed to address all of their medical issues.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618329)

There are only a couple countries where suicide is legal.

My favorite was when attempted suicide in Great Britain carried the death penalty. "Do it right, or we'll finish the job."

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44618503)

There are only a couple countries where suicide is legal.

My favorite was when attempted suicide in Great Britain carried the death penalty. "Do it right, or we'll finish the job."

Didn't it also result in forfeiture of your estate there, or desecration of your body, or trampling your flower garden or something like that, too?

I thought I was kind of kidding, but apparently not:

Even in modern times, legal penalties for committing suicide have not been uncommon. By 1879, English law had begun to distinguish between suicide and homicide, though suicide still resulted in forfeiture of estate. Also, the deceased were permitted daylight burial in 1882. [wikipedia.org]

So maybe not the flower garden part, but you had to be buried at night? Cute.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44619167)

It was a bit more [bbc.co.uk] than just be buried at night:

If proven, they were denied a Christian burial - and instead carried to a crossroads in the dead of night and dumped in a pit, a wooden stake hammered through the body pinning it in place. There were no clergy or mourners, and no prayers were offered.

...at least at first, anyway! You can imagine this would be very scarring to the family and very bad in a religious perspective; suicide effectively gets you excommunicated.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44619453)

[T]hey were . . . carried to a crossroads in the dead of night and dumped in a pit, a wooden stake hammered through the body pinning it in place. .

Well then. Desecration: check. Wow. It's like the British government was Al Capone as played by Robert DeNiro [youtube.com] .

At least maybe I was still kidding about the flowers . . .

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44618345)

I'll bet you get invited to all of the Christmas parties.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618367)

Your position is non sequitur. You say you're all for letting people commit suicide, but then go on to insult them, call them illogical, and say that suicide is not okay. I suspect that you simply have a misguided sense of superiority, and are trying to demonstrate it.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44618577)

When you have a close relative (or yourself) dying of incurable. unusually painful bone cancer, you may shift your views a tetch.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about a year ago | (#44618831)

Maybe their suffering should be put to an end before it becomes really painful and unmanageable, ... or before the medical cost become prohibitive. I mean, there is no point to treat cancer of a +70 years old person... (S)He had a good life, time to go. ps: I do have a grand-parent in this case.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#44619183)

It's a very ambiguous situation. Older people, it would appear, are made of sterner stuff than I. They want to live, despite the pain, even at that age. I didn't understand why my father wanted to live into his 80s, his suffering was so great in that last decade. Yet, he resisted dying to the last day.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year ago | (#44619559)

That was his choice. If I want a different choice for myself, the government shouldn't interfere.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44619525)

It isn't worth treating the cancer of a 70 y.o. so that they may live to 80 or more? Sorry, but I'm not in favor of putting grannie on an ice flow. And in all fairness to the Hudson's Bay Inuit, they only did that in times of severe crisis, when the survival of the entire group was at risk. That hardly describes our current society.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44619421)

There really is nothing logical about suicide.

Nor is there anything illogical about it. You can only talk about whether something is logical or illogical with respect to a goal. You're assuming the goal is survival. You can argue that there is a survival instinct, but that's something you have in common with a paramecium.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44618349)

If you are a productive citizen, then you are needed to pay taxes. You aren't allowed to take that away, it's selfish. If you are a net consumer of taxes, then you are needed to keep voting for more money for your kind. Either way, you're sticking around.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about a year ago | (#44618845)

Since when has selfishness becomes a bad thing ?

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618401)

Put me on autopilot and send me to oblivion.

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about a year ago | (#44619153)

The Fifth Trumpet
â¦5And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. 6And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.
Revelation 9

(I'm not particularly Christian, but find this interesting in the light of current questions of medical ethics)

Re:STAY OFF MY LAWN (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year ago | (#44619211)

I tried to borrow a book on suicide from my local library, but they wouldn't lend it out as all the other copies never got returned.

Combined mood and mental state (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44618077)

And how accurate were the "clinical measures of mood and mental state" by themselves?

Re:Combined mood and mental state (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44618435)

That's sort of the key. It's hard to say. If you successfully intervene, then the person doesn't commit suicide. If you don't they might. Most of the time, you can rank sucidality. Not all of the time, just like most things.

I don't think that this is going to lead to a 'suicide test' - it's rather early in the game for that. It will likely lead to more grant money in the short term and perhaps a better understanding of mood disorders in the long term. It's interesting that they focused on bipolar patients. The results may well not be generalizable to 'normal' depression, again, way too early to say. Bipolar patients (especially males) do have a higher lethality rate than so called unipolar ('normal') depressives. Is the the same mechanism writ large or something else?

The Holy Grail of Molecular Psychology is to reduce human behavior into a determinant system that can be manipulated. It will certainly help lots of people but of course opens up some interesting containers of slimy invertebrates (ie, politicians).

Re:Combined mood and mental state (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44619603)

It will certainly help lots of people but of course opens up some interesting containers of slimy invertebrates (ie, politicians).

They can always be euthanized.

Signs of heavy drinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618091)

would be my guess, especially if they indicate a switch from expensive Scotch to cheap wine during the past year, indicating a decline in financial fortunes (following Sherlock Holmes).

Vampires in danger? (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#44618115)

So if a Vampire were to suck their blood, would it too want to commit suicide? Or are we vampires safe?

Re:Vampires in danger? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618323)

Great, now "Suicidal Vampires" will be the next new series on Bravo.

Re:Vampires in danger? (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#44619479)

We've already done the sparkly vampire thing, so I guess the suicidal vampires will have a lot of lens flare. Call in J.J. Abrams.

Suicidal induction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618149)

So are we close to see suicidal induction happening? Just shoot your mother-in-law with one of these Suici-Darts and lend some ropes around. You will inherit her house within minutes!

Have we disprove free will yet? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44618231)

We tend to find find these predictors however they mean a statically increase of something not necessary that action will occur.
There are people with all sorts of mental issues that are living productive and legal lives, because while their instincts may be to do something anti-social, we were taught to not do such, and we are well trained not to do that.

Suicide may have predictors for it, but it doesn't mean that the person will be Suicidal, even during tough times, however there will be an instinct, that they might need to fight, and work with.
Knowing this could help to be preemptive. But it isn't a death sentence.

Re:Have we disprove free will yet? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#44618365)

Yep, its like genetics and intelligence, while no doubt they are correlated, someone who has the best genes in the world but does nothing but sleep, eat Cheetos and watch MTV is going to be less smart than the guy with terrible genetics who wants to better himself.

Unfortunately, the more we find out about this type of stuff the less personal responsibility people seem to have.

Re:Have we disprove free will yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619085)

Unfortunately, the more we find out about this type of stuff the less personal responsibility people seem to have.

"A guy did a study. A guy! In a labcoat! Being unable to interpret the results whatsoever due to my complete lack of scientific background, I'm going to treat it as absolute truth, because SCIENCE!"

It's Religion 2.0: Psuedosciencianity.

"Genes did it!" is the new, "God did it!", only slightly more annoying, because it usually comes out of the mouths of people who insist they're somehow more intelligent than the god-botherers.

Same shit. Different noun.

Re:Have we disprove free will yet? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44619653)

Yep, its like genetics and intelligence, while no doubt they are correlated, someone who has the best genes in the world but does nothing but sleep, eat Cheetos and watch MTV is going to be less smart ...

Or maybe he's very smart, and just doesn't give a damn what you think.

Re:Have we disprove free will yet? (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44618525)

Well, let's face it: people don't know what's good for them. It's better if we let the smart people run society. They can make better decisions for us than we can make for ourselves. This is known as Coercive Paternalism [amazon.com] and it is the hottest new movement since Progressivism. The closed-minded need not apply, CP is only available to those who enjoy having their cherished beliefs challenged. From page 1: "The truth is that we don't reason very well, and in many cases there is no justification for leaving us to struggle with our own inabilities and to suffer the consequences." Since the government is not tempted by the rewards of your poor decision-making, it can dispassionately make better decisions for you. Let's face it: "choice" is such a sacred cow, especially to a certain that kind of person who practices out-of-fashion politics.

Re:Have we disprove free will yet? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44619021)

However those stupid people who make bad decisions can get very violent, making it hard to implement in real life.

As well how do you determine who is fit to make the decisions or not. Also it falls under the same flaw that Soviet Style communism has. Progress needs mistakes screw ups, and bad decisions and people who do not follow the same drummer.

The PC revolution, all the business owners say these Personal Computers are not powerful enough to be useful so they said that they didn't want to make them. So it took some guys to decide to ignore that idea and go on their own.

Our system is sloppy, but it works because of its sloppiness. If you put too much of a tight control, a little mistake will just be huge. If you have loose controls a little mistake is a little mistake.

Re:Have we disprove free will yet? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44619105)

I really enjoy learning about the latest in radical left-ish politics from you. You could do well at Fox News to find new bogeymen for them.

Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (2, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44618259)

The list of eugenics propaganda is getting longer, and I'll have to study this to determine if it needs to go there. On a hunch, I'm guessing that it will. I'm not a MD, but wonder if this is even possible due to toxins the body produces right after death as well as another more obvious reason. Suicide is generally a result of depression as well as other symptoms. The obvious reason for this to fail is that currently there is no way (nor should there be) to test someones blood to determine if they are suffering from depression. They could of course determine levels of substances, but humans are adaptive and can live with a huge tolerance or lack of certain hormones, amino acids, etc...

Now maybe it's just me, but the summary seems extremely familiar to "Detecting mental illness by analyzing your tweets", and "Detecting mental illness by analyzing your social media habits" which we have seen within the last year and a half. This one is a bit better disguised, but not disguised enough.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44618519)

First, gene marker studies are unlikely to be tainted by 'toxins'. You have the gene or you don't. Dying doesn't give you more DNA. And yes, the Holy Grail is to use objective testing to tease out the determinant basis of a bunch of subjective issues (psychiatric diseases).

This is quite a bit different from detecting mental illness by analyzing your tweets (a tautology). It's more an attempt to find a molecular basis of why some people are twits and others not.

Best adjust your undies. Your biases are showing.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (2)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44618931)

The attempt to find molecular basis I have disputed for two reasons. I'm sure an MD can do a better job of it, and I will be discussing this issue with friends and become more familiar with it.

Psychiatric diseases and diagnosis have become nearly laughable. The bible used to determine a diagnosis has been the subject of controversy since it was first published, and has grown more controversial in the last 2 revisions. If you are not questioning an industry where children are diagnosed as mentally ill and put on medication because they want to play, you are a fool.

Don't make the mistake of putting words into my mouth. I believe that some mental illnesses are real, some are treatable, some are not. That said, an industry that attempts to medicate normal people for doing normal things and diagnose them as "ill" doing as much service to humanity as the witch doctor pulling evil spirits out of people.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#44619535)

If we could find a molecular basis for them we wouldn't have to rely on diagnosis criteria like "shows signs of anger when confronted" which can be horribly misinterpreted.

The answer to poor science is not less science, the answer is more, better science so we can fix the problem. Science is self-correcting like that.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44619733)

If we could find a molecular basis for them we wouldn't have to rely on diagnosis criteria like "shows signs of anger when confronted" which can be horribly misinterpreted.

Not only can it be misinterpreted, but it is an absolutely normal reaction! Should you be "diagnosed" and forced to take medication for not changing your opinion when someone yells at you? Come now, it's not just a matter of more or less science. It's what the science is attempting to do, and whether or not there is any benefit to society if the "science" runs its full course. Unfortunately Science is not always self-correcting in time to prevent massive harm to society and civilizations.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44618567)

I agree. You're not an MD, and are unlikely to have any qualification whatsoever to draw meaningful conclusions from the summary or god forbid, if you read the article.

I'm not really poking fun, there's no reason not to post an opinion you pulled out of your ass here, you're not responsible in any way for the science.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44618823)

I read the article, what I don't see is who founded it and how they come to the determination that they can do what they claim. The article is written at a 10K view, which is fine.

I like how you apologize for your ad hominem, but it does not take it away. The main concern I have was ignored by you. Either failed to read or really can't argue my point. Thanks for playing "I know fallacy" and have a nice day.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619321)

I read the article, what I don't see is who founded it and how they come to the determination that they can do what they claim. The article is written at a 10K view, which is fine.

And yet you confused gene-expression with genetics. If you can't even understand the science, I really don't think it's fair to call it biased. BTW, the funding is there as always:

This work was supported by an NIH Directorsâ(TM) New Innovator Award (1DP2OD007363) and a VA Merit Award (1I01CX000139-01) to ABN.

Thanks for playing "I know fallacy" and have a nice day.

*sigh*

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619735)

This is the same person that didn't think a lack of basic physics knowledge was relevant to an opinion disagreeing with physicists on HAARP on a previous story, so I'm sensing a pattern here. After all, the most important point to science debates on slashdot is correlation does not equal causation, therefore you can't argue that being knowledgeable about a subject causes people to make better judgements, it is merely a chance correlation.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618859)

The list of eugenics propaganda is getting longer, and I'll have to study this to determine if it needs to go there. On a hunch, I'm guessing that it will. I'm not a MD, but wonder if this is even possible due to toxins the body produces right after death as well as another more obvious reason. Suicide is generally a result of depression as well as other symptoms. The obvious reason for this to fail is that currently there is no way (nor should there be) to test someones blood to determine if they are suffering from depression. They could of course determine levels of substances, but humans are adaptive and can live with a huge tolerance or lack of certain hormones, amino acids, etc...

Now maybe it's just me, but the summary seems extremely familiar to "Detecting mental illness by analyzing your tweets", and "Detecting mental illness by analyzing your social media habits" which we have seen within the last year and a half. This one is a bit better disguised, but not disguised enough.

Combined with phrenology it's possible to accurately confirm diagnostic biases - but only if you look (only) at suicides.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about a year ago | (#44619643)

The obvious reason for this to fail is that currently there is no way (nor should there be) to test someones blood to determine if they are suffering from depression.

It's been known for quite some time that both depression and predisposition to suicides have a genetic component. So yes, you most certainly should be able to test someone's blood to determine if they are at an increased risk for depression, it's just a question of identifying which genes are responsible.

The list of eugenics propaganda is getting longer, and I'll have to study this to determine if it needs to go there

Recognizing that our genes have an effect on us isn't "eugenics." It's common-sense. DNA controls the color of my eyes, my skin, the type of hair I have, my height, my body type, the relative chances I have of getting heart disease or certain types of cancer...why you would think it has no effect whatsoever on my mental health is beyond me. Studies only cross into eugenics if they start advocating people with certain genes shouldn't breed, or shouldn't breed with people with a different set of genes, or should be eliminated completely from the gene pool. Saying we have genetic differences, some of which provide advantages and other which provide disadvantages is just fact. Figuring out which genes are responsible for those advantages and disadvantages is science.

Re:Sounds like more eugenics propaganda (1)

Prune (557140) | about a year ago | (#44619873)

Why does it have to be propaganda? While eugenics is tainted by its association with unfortunate historical happenstance, it doesn't have to be. Many scientists are more or less in favor of genetics, with James Watson (co-discoverer of DNA's structure) a prime example. What is the alternative? When you remove natural selection pressure (and we have very strongly diluted it, and continue to do so ever more), there is very little selection left; thus, the average genetic fitness of the population will worsen over time, even if you allow a lot of leeway in how you define the fitness function and what weights you assign to its individual factors (this is because mutation without selection would tend to lead to fitness function evaluation that one would get from a random genetic distribution). The only alternative is to replace it with some sort of artificial selection. A promise of modern biotechnology may very well turn out that such a thing can be carried out without restricting the reproductive rights of individuals by ways of ever more advanced embryo genetic vetting and selection, combined with genetic engineering.

In any case, some form of eugenics is already in wide practice by individuals, and often in ways that are detrimental to the human population overall (see, for example, sex-selective abortion in China). Some sort of insitutionalized oversight of the process will be necessary if for nothing else than to counterbalance the potential damage that individuals' practice will cause.

How to get a blood sample (5, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44618331)

We need a blood sample to test for suicidal tendencies. Could you make a small cut in your wrist please?

Re:How to get a blood sample (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618967)

Get some when i'm under that train.

Re:How to get a blood sample (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44619277)

Get some when i'm under that train.

See, that's what happens what you get off the wagon...

Suicide marker? (2)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#44618351)

Maybe this is perhaps a sign of severe depression rather than simply suicide. I read the article and depression wasn't mentioned until the end and only briefly. Happy people don't kill themselves.

Re:Suicide marker? (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#44618483)

Happy people don't kill themselves.

I disagree. While undoubtedly the vast majority of suicides are due to severe depression and unhappy people, there are a number of other reasons why people commit suicide. For some, they want to go out with dignity. Others have a debilitating illness and want to be in their right mind when they die rather than die unable to even recognize their own children.

Now that doesn't mean that suicide is the answer or that I condone suicide or anything, merely that there are some people who commit suicide without being really unhappy.

Re:Suicide marker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618633)

And thus the 80% success rate rather than 100%.

Re:Suicide marker? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44619339)

The 80% success rate is because people these people are failures. They can't even kill themselves without screwing it up.

Some work to do (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44618397)

As the researcher admits:

The next step, he says, is to look at the levels of these biomarkers in the general population and in other at-risk populations, such as those with depression or suffering from stress or bereavement. “Suicide is not just related to mental illness,” he says. “It’s a very complex behaviour (sic*).”

That might just be an understatement, there. Generalizing results to the population as a whole, as opposed to people with known disorders that already predispose them to a higher risk of suicide (and other behavior-related premature mortality) would be the interesting part if it worked.

*Yes, I know that "behaviour" is the correct spelling in British English, but since I'm writing this in the US, I feel obligated to note that I am not misspelling it in my version of written language. It's my way of honoring The Economist magazine's editorial policy, in reverse, that is.

Re:Some work to do (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | about a year ago | (#44619371)

I honestly think sic isn't needed there and I believe most news organizations are phasing it out in general.

I think it's better to assume that quotes are correctly quoted in the first place and to only use sic in instances where you specifically want to point out that the quote is mangling grammar or spelling in order to convey a specific impression to the reader.

Re:Some work to do (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44619613)

I honestly think sic isn't needed there and I believe most news organizations are phasing it out in general.

I agree, and I thought it was unnecessary and probably just a petty little dig when I saw The Economist do it. In addition to that, they "correct" proper names of US institutions as if they were merely descriptions.

Anyway, from thence comes my retaliatory use of "sic".

Re:Some work to do (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44619701)

It's supposed to be "[sic]", not "(sic)".

Pedants of the world, challenge each other!

My choice of predictor (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44618421)

If the blood is coming out of the patient's wrists in spurts, out of a gunshot wound to the head (where the patient has the gun in one hand and a note in the other), then it's likely the person is suicidal.

It's a slippery slope (1)

lintmint (539531) | about a year ago | (#44618459)

Soon tere will be biomarkers for other types of behaviour and then employers are going to want blood tests from perspective employees. Before you know it if you have marker xyz you'll be virtually unemployable.
Walk into any AA meeting and ask the members if they can exercise choice over their impuses.

Not "someone", but "men". (1)

zayyd (2899959) | about a year ago | (#44618783)

Using blood samples taken by the coroner from nine men who had committed suicide, they found six molecular signs, or biomarkers, that they say can identify people at risk of committing suicide.... To check whether these biomarkers could predict hospitalizations related to suicide or suicide attempts, the researchers analysed gene-expression data from 42 men with bipolar disorder and 46 men with schizophrenia.

I'm curious to know how useful this information is at this stage... From wikipedia: "Statistics indicate that males die much more often by means of suicide than do females; however, reported suicide attempts are 3 times more common among females than males." [wikipedia.org] Statistically, suicide is not the same as a suicide attempt. This really demands a similar study on women, or even better, all sexes in one study.

Difficult (1)

JunkyardCat (795659) | about a year ago | (#44618865)

A lot of failed suicide attempts were never intended to be fatal, just pleas for attention or a variety of disorders. Successful suicides are very difficult to prosecute regardless of the legality.

easier way (1)

tr0p (728557) | about a year ago | (#44619545)

Soon they will dispense with these formalities and simply check for the presence of pharmaceuticals in your blood (these are usually present in the conditions mentioned in the article so its just a matter of time until an academic study shows it). Since the doctors and hospitals themselves are usually responsible for creating this condition, they'll be able to justify forcibly holding anybody against their will. Boycott big pharma.

Unhealthy "mind" - unhealthy body ...? (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about a year ago | (#44619565)

Not understanding the abstract. What kind of biomarkers? Do they indicate certain genes or do they indicate certain chemicals that are more prevalent during depression?

If they indicate certain chemicals, then could those chemicals perhaps be responsible for depressed people having worse health and less energy than happy people? Of course depression is usually due to a variety of reasons, but could their elimination perhaps help depressed people recover faster?

If they indicate certain genes, then that's a story I'm familiar with.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619589)

Tom Cruise said psychiatry was a sham. And he's an expert. You won't suppress my thetan levels you psycho-pharma shills!

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