Sunday, August 3, 2014

Prototype blood test will assess for suicide risk in soldiers

Scientists will carry out the genetic tests on blood samples collected from US army soldiers before and after active combat in an attempt to identify people who are at greatest risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviour.

The genetic test has already been used experimentally on a group of 325 volunteers in a civilian research programme, in which it predicted suicidal thoughts with an accuracy of 80 per cent, and severe suicidal risk with 90 per cent accuracy, scientists said.

There has been a sharp increase in suicides by American soldiers. Between 2004 and 2012, the rate tripled from 9.6 per 100,000 to 29.2.

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