After analyzing three sets of different blood samples from 325 patients, a Johns Hopkins Center for Prevention Research Study determined that there are links between lowered levels of a gene called SKA2, plus a higher level of chemical changes that alter its function,and suicidal tendencies. (1) The experts then developed a blood test to see what patients had attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts; it was 90 percent accurate among those with severe suicidal thoughts.
The study also examined the brains of those with a mental illness and of healthier people, noting that optimal SKA2 levels manifest in the brain in such a way that it suppresses impulsive behaviors, reduces stress and halts negative thoughts. (1) The researchers found that SKA2 levels were much lower for those who committed suicide.
Therefore, they concluded that people with suicidal thoughts and behaviors have very low SKA2 levels as well as chemical alterations within it, showing that their ability to control stress and certain thoughts is likely compromised.
Suicide a growing issue among various age groups
Lead researcher and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Zachary Kaminsky, said, “With a test like ours, we may be able to stem suicide rates by identifying those people and intervening early enough to head off a catastrophe. We have found a gene that we think could be really important for consistently identifying a range of behaviors from suicidal thoughts to attempts to completion.” (1)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates in middle-aged people has “risen sharply,” a death more common than ones due to car accidents. (2)
It’s an alarming problem across the board: about 22 veterans take their lives daily; 18 percent of suicides are due to the elderly taking their life; and among 15-24-year-olds, it’s the third leading cause of death. (3, 4, 5)
Healthy foods that can bolster mood
Foods that help improve mood and fight depression include bananas, walnuts, spinach, avocado and oats. (6)
Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help those with depression, while avocado works to regulate the brain’s serotonin levels, which also play a role in improving mood. (6)
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