Toronto's Center for Addiction and Mental Health has found new evidence that links a specific gene to suicidal behavior. Previously, scientists had connected to the gene for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), involved in the development of the nervous system, to suicidal behavior. CAMH scientists recently were able to confirmed that among people with psychiatric behavior, those with the methionine (met) variation of BDNF had a higher risk of suicidal characteristics then those with valine variation. Their study included data from 3,352 people, of whom 1,202 had shown signs of suicidal behavior.
Scientists admit that this is only a small clue to the larger cause of suicidal behavior, as 90 percent of people who have died by suicide already suffer from at least one mental health disorder. However, these findings could lead to the development of treatment targeting this gene, and it could help genetic testing to identify people at risk for such behavior.