Biomarkers, Plus App Questionnaire Can Predict Risk of Suicide

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Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine say they have found biomarkers in a blood test that combined with a questionnaire in an app, can predict patients with psychiatric illnesses that are at the greatest risk of attempting suicide.

In the study, led by Alexander B. Niculescu III, MD, PhD, 217 men who had diagnoses of bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophrenia were followed for several years. During that time, 37 participants were identified as going from no suicidal thoughts to high suicidal ideation. The researchers then identified RNA biomarkers through blood samples  that were in common among the men.

Combining those biomarkers with the new questionnaires in an app, the researchers were able to predict which individuals would experience significant suicidal ideation with about 92% accuracy, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. In patients with bipolar disorder, the accuracy was nearly 98%.

The combination of biomarkers and the app was also accurate in predicting which of the patients would be hospitalized for suicidality in the year following testing  — 71% across all diagnoses.

“We now have developed a better panel of biomarkers that are predictive across several psychiatric diagnoses. Combined with the apps, we have a broader spectrum predictor for suicidality,” Niculescu said in a statement.

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RNA biomarkers, combined with a new questionnaire provided in an app, were able to predict with over 90% accuracy who was at risk for suicidal ideation.

People being treated for bipolar disorder and other psychiatric illnesses are at greater risk of attempting suicide, but physicians may now have tools to predict which of those individuals will attempt it and intervene early to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine reported in Molecular Psychiatry that they have developed blood tests and questionnaire instruments that can predict with more than 90% accuracy which of those patients will begin thinking of suicide, or attempt it.

Using RNA biomarkers from blood samples along with a newly developed questionnaires in the form of an app, the researchers were able to predict which individuals in a group of patients being seen for a variety of would experience significant suicidal ideation with approximately 92% accuracy.

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