Scientists discover key identifier for suicide risk

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An international collaboration of research scientists in Australia, the United States and Sweden has identified a molecule in the blood that holds the key to identifying the cause of suicide.
It's been known for a long time that people who attempt suicide have markers of chronic inflammation in their blood and spinal fluid. Commonly used antidepressants have only limited effect because they target serotonin – the branch of tryptophan associated with happiness – rather than quinolinic acid which is the other branch of tryptophan associated with inflammation.
The latest research provides further evidence of the role of inflammation in a person’s mental state. It shows that suicidal patients have reduced activity of an enzyme called ACMSD which results in lower production of picolinic acid, an important molecule for brain protection. The researche gives a much clearer indication of the biological mechanics behind suicidal tendency.
The next step will be to develop a simple blood test to detect both quinolinic and picolinic acids to determine individuals who are at risk of taking their lives.