New Study Reveals Genetics Could Better Predict Suicidal Tendencies Within Families

Based on a new study, genetic factors could better predict suicidal tendencies within families. 

In this study, experts were led to a genetic discovery — they found 20 genes that could have a role in such deaths. They also found some links to other mental illnesses.

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Suicidal tendencies in families

Experts say that one factor to consider is that suicidal tendency is found through genealogy. One famous example is that of Ernest Hemingway's family.

His father, mother, brother, and niece took their own lives. Counting all of them, there are five deaths by suicide in their family. Aside from them, there are also thousands of families in the world with the same dying stories that made experts eager to know why such suicidal tendencies later lead to their genetic discovery. 


In a report, one person dies by suicide every 11 minutes. That is 132 people a day or more than 48,000 every year. And for those people who were left behind, the big and haunting question is why.  

The genetic discovery

Experts say that the study proves that suicidal tendencies and suicide deaths can be inherited and that it tracks families and affects a shared nature. 

Such genetic discovery could lead to better ways of predicting who might have suicidal tendencies and inform new techniques to prevent the worst from what is about to happen. 

One of the experts said that the important thing about their study is that they have made a risk score for such cause of death by using the whole genome that predicts case-control status in the lab. 

Experts also say that the study will help them know how genetics and environment are linked to increased suicide risks.

Although they are far from using the said score in clinics, this is their first step to measure the risk for suicidal tendencies in a person. 

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Factors that lead to suicidal tendencies

Aside from stress, loneliness, money strains, childhood trauma, and other issues that add to death by suicide, experts have long thought other factors must be involved. 

Experts even say that when they show people their data on how suicidal tendencies are caused by 45 to 55 percent genetic, they are shocked. They say that it was all because of those people losing their jobs, feeling helpless, or having difficulty dealing with their feelings, which the experts say is solely not the cause. 

Limitations of the study

But, the study has its limits. The cases that experts have observed were from Northern Europeans. Not every person with a DNA sample in the cases had medical record data to clear the presence or absence of mental health. 

Moving forward, the authors of the study aim and plan to conduct more extensive and more diverse studies like this that will include the people of Mexican and Native Americans. 

Also, this study and others that follow will allow them to know better the risk factors linked to suicide and help decrease the stigma that comes with it. 

This study that led to a genetic discovery will also urge families with a history of suicide to learn more and discuss risk and factors. That is because they would talk about other medical diseases like high blood pressure or heart disease.

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