App Based Questionnaires Could Help Identify Suicide Risk for Females

Two innovative new app based questionnaires could help identify the suicide risk for females when these tools are used along with a blood test designed to detect certain biomarkers. When the app based questionnaires were used along with the blood test the researchers were able to predict any future suicidal thoughts with an accuracy of 82%. In addition the researchers could accurately predict future hospitalizations associated with suicidal thoughts or actions at around 78%. In 2015 research was published that showed the suicide risk for males could be predicted with certain questionnaires and biomarker blood tests, and the latest research shows that these study findings could also be used for women as well. The Indiana University School of Medicine researchers determined that while women tend to successfully commit suicide less often than men women generally make more attempts to do so but they typically use means which are less violent and which may not be as lethal.

IU School of Medicine professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience, Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center attending psychiatrist, and principal investigator for the latest study on suicide risk and app based questionnaires Alexander B. Niculescu III, M.D., Ph.D. Explained the findings. “Women have not been adequately studied in research about suicide, and we did not know how well we would be able to define objective predictors of suicide in women. It was important to determine whether biomarkers and app-based questionnaires could be used to make predictions among women, and whether such tests can be adjusted for gender to be more accurate. These results suggest that the best way to proceed would be to use gender-tailored approaches.”

Can Suicide Risk Actually be Lowered with ADHD Medications?

ADHD medications are often in the news because someone overdosed on these drugs, either accidentally or on purpose. ADHD drugs are commonly abused, especially by students and those who want to stay awake for longer periods of time. Some researchers are now saying that some of the benefits provided by ADHD medications may be overlooked, and one of these benefits could be a reduction in the number of suicides and attempts at suicide. The latest research on these drugs and their use can be found in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. The black box warnings found on ADHD medications can be confusing, and University of Montreal and CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal researchers teamed up to identify the risks and consequences including the suicide risk that may be associated with these drugs.

One of the authors of the study on ADHD medications and suicide risk was Dr. Alain Lesage, who stated “Health Canada has issued a series of black-box warnings about the suicidal potential of ADHD medications. However, these warnings have failed to take into account epidemiological studies showing the opposite, that increased use of this medication has been associated with reduced suicide risk in adolescents.” Study co-author and scientific researcher Dr. Edouard Kouassi wrote that “Clearly, the increased use of ADHD drugs indicates that they might actually reduce rather than augment the risk of suicide.” The study authors also concluded that “Randomized controlled trials have shown ADHD medication to alleviate the usual symptoms of hyperactivity and attention deficit. It has also been associated with improvements in school performance, better self-esteem, and reductions in conduct disorders, drug abuse, and pregnancies in girls. In fact, these disorders or precarious social situations are especially associated with increased risk of suicide, not the actual taking of these drugs, which, on the contrary, may prevent suicide.”

Suicide Risk May be Identified With Biomarker and Questionnaire

biomarker, suicide risk

According to research that was recently published in the Molecular Psychiatry journal new blood tests and questionnaire instruments have been developed which may help more accurately identify suicide risk through biomarkers and questionnaire answers. The combination can help predict the suicide risk with a rate that s higher than 90%, far higher than other tests. These tests can predict which individuals will start to contemplate suicide or actually attempt this step. Indiana University School of Medicine researchers developed these tools in order to provide an accurate assessment of the suicide risk. Many different types of mental disorders may involve suicidal thoughts or actions, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. IU School of Medicine professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience Alexander B. Niculescu III, M.D., Ph.D. Explained “We believe that widespread adoption of risk prediction tests based on these findings during healthcare assessments will enable clinicians to intervene with lifestyle changes or treatments that can save lives.”

When discussing the research on the biomarker and questionnaire testing Dr. Niculescu “We now have developed a better panel of biomarkers that are predictive across several psychiatric diagnoses. Combined with the apps, we have a broader spectrum predictor for suicidality. In additional to reproducing and expanding our own previous work, we reproduce and expand other groups’ results in this burgeoning field.” The blood samples were analyzed for RNA biomarkers, and then used along with answers from newly developed questionnaires. Researchers had the ability to accurately predict the suicide risk of patients around 92% of the time.

Can the Suicide Risk of Severe Depression be Influenced by Decision Skills?

severe depression, suicide risk

Severe depression can lead to a very high suicide risk, but can this risk be influenced by the decision skills that the individual has? Many people struggle with severe depression or even suicidal thoughts at times, but in the past there was no way to identify people who were the most likely to actually attempt suicide. Only a small percentage of people who are severely depressed actually attempt to commit suicide, and new research may be able to identify this percentage by their decision skills. Some people are naturally more susceptible to suicide and if these individuals can be identified early on then the outcome may be greatly different. The new research has determined that the way decisions are made by a person can determine whether the individual is vulnerable to suicide.

High risk decision making skills have been shown to make an individual more vulnerable to suicide. The research results can be found n the Journal of Psychiatric Research. McGill University Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Fabrice Jollant was involved in the research study and explained “We know that the close relatives of people who commit suicide carry certain traits linked to suicide vulnerability, even if they have never expressed them through a suicidal attempt. People who have a tendency to make risky decisions lean toward solutions that provide short-term benefits despite the high risk, instead of solutions that are safer over the long term. They also have difficulty identifying alternative solutions when faced with a problem. We have specifically demonstrated that individuals who make risky decisions experience more problems in their personal relationships, which represent classic triggers for suicidal crises.”