According to a report by LiveScience, posted by Fox News on Wednesday, researchers say they may have a new tool that reveals suicidal thoughts with a blood test.
In a controversial US study, researchers from Indiana University claim they have found biomarkers that indicate suicidal thoughts, and therefore, the risk of suicide. The enzyme, called SAT1, was linked to suicidal tendencies.
The study involved taking samples from participants over an extended period of time, whilst interviewing them at three to six month intervals.
75 males with conditions such as bipolar were used as participants as they are at a higher risk of committing suicide than others.
The increased presence of this specific blood marker was apparent in a subgroup of nine patients who displayed a sudden dramatic shift to powerful suicidal thoughts.
"We found some blood biomarkers, some changes in molecules in the blood, that are associated with having a high suicidal risk, and then we validated those changes in blood from suicide completers," said Dr. Alexander Niculescu III, an associate professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Finally, the researchers compared their blood sample findings to those from groups of the 42 men with bipolar disorder and 46 with schizophrenia, to see if the levels of these biomarkers corresponded with suicidal tendencies.
Ultimately, the researchers found six molecules that appeared to correlate with suicidal thoughts and actions. However, Niculescu noted the findings need to be confirmed in a wider cohort that includes women and non-Caucasian men.
In their paper, the scientists point to a link between SAT1 and polyamine, a chemical involved in apoptosis, or "cell suicide" - the programmed self destruction of damaged or harmful cells.
They wrote: "It could be that.. mechanisms related to cellular survival have been recruited by evolution for higher mental functions, such as feelings, thoughts, actions and behaviours, leading to suicidality.