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The World in Medicine
May 19, 2010

Genetic Clue to Suicidality

JAMA. 2010;303(19):1908. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.636

Genetic variants within a gene that encodes the receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor are associated with suicide attempts in depressed patients, an international team of scientists has found (Kohli MA et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67[4]:348-359).

In a study of 394 depressed patients and 366 matched controls, the researchers found independent single nucleotide polymorphisms within the receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (NTRK2) gene associated with suicide attempts. These associations were then confirmed in 2 other study samples. Those who carried all 3 of the most significant variants had a substantially higher risk of attempting suicide (odds ratio, 4.5) than did those with none of these variants.

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