Study Finds No Genetic Correlations with Suicide Risk

A new study of over 3,500 people found no evidence for a genetic component to suicide risk.

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A new study has found no genetic component to suicide risk. The researchers conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of over 6 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in over 3,500 people.

“We did not detect genome-wide significant findings at the single-marker or gene level,” the researchers write.

They also attempted to correlate suicidal ideation and behavior with polygenic risk scores for “bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, impulsivity, insomnia, educational attainment, loneliness, maltreatment, and amygdala volume”—and again, came up empty. They write:

“Our polygenic risk score analyses did not yield significant findings with these phenotypes.”

Nonetheless, they propose “a number of suggestive single-marker and gene-based findings,” all of which were non-significant. Even for these, however, they write that “The mechanisms of the suggestive associations are unclear”—meaning that there is no known biological reason that the non-significant findings should be linked to suicide.

Businessman holding a DNA icon

The researchers looked at 3506 people with a diagnosed mood disorder and examined 6,737,359 SNPs for any connection to suicide. They had data on suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and suicide attempts.

Despite finding no link between suicide and genetics, the researchers write that suicide “has a prominent genetic component.”

The study was published in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry. The research was led by first author Clement Zai and co-senior authors James Kennedy and Cathryn Lewis.

Notably, Zai and Kennedy both hold patents on detecting biomarkers for suicide.

Despite their results finding that no genetic markers for suicide appear to exist, the authors’ conclusion was “Larger sample sizes are required to detect moderate effects.”

 

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Zai, C. C., Fabbri, C., Hosang, G. M., Zhang, R. S., Koyama, E., de Luca, V., . . .  & Lewis, C. M. (2021): Genome-wide association study of suicidal behaviour severity in mood disorders. The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1080/15622975.2021.1907711 (Link)

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is the state of too much medical research today: Conducted by people who ignore good science in order to gain financially. Unfortunately the United States government is going along with this sad state of affairs as is most recently evidenced by the FDA’s approval of a worthless, expensive and dangerous Alzheimer’s drug.

  2. Being dehumanized by individuals to whom one has given their power through trust (or programming) while vulnerable with gaping psychological wounds and poly-drugged out of one’s nature (and mind), as their crazy-ass version of healing from trauma and finding one’s true path in life, would probably be one reason people would consider killing themselves, and often do. That is pure suffering on every level, makes no sense to any reasonable and rational part of ourselves.

    And then to have a society, culture, and legal system allow it, that would nail it. No one to turn to at that point. Some call this “dark night of the soul,” and indeed it is. It’s also a “sick society.”

    Of course “they,” of the current establishment, are looking for other reasons outside of the human being factor without considering that, perhaps, life is simply over the top stressful, and especially for many people who find themselves particularly vulnerable. Without effective ways to relieve this stress and move through hard times, the pressure will build and the stress will appear everywhere, it will become chronic leading to sleep deprivation more than likely, for one thing, and that can lead to all kinds of issues in life and health which can be like a Gordian knot. If there’s no one around with a bit of patience and empathy, that is trouble for the soul.

    So many people kill themselves for all kinds of reasons, a perfect storm leading to being profoundly dispirited and disillusioned with life, people, ourselves, in chronic terror and lack of safety, etc., all which lead to a choir of negative beliefs and voices along with chronic physical pain.

    I felt this way twice in my life–going on the drugs at age 21, and then as I was withdrawing from them 19 years later. Been 20 years since my withdrawal, so I can look back on this with quite a bit of clarity at this point, I’m no longer that person, I was never, ever suicidal outside of this, I’ve always loved life and it’s challenges. This was too much, though, and I had no idea who I was, which is why I was reaching out for assistance, but unfortunately, to the wrong people.

    That was one factor, the chemical shifting, first from my nature to something artificial which would cut me off from my emotions so that I could feed into the system, like everyone else; and then back from artificial to natural, breaking that addiction in my body, very painful and absolutely no one around me understood it, least of all my psychiatrist at the time. My personal symptoms did not fit the studies, so he figured I was making this up. And he told me so, kept calling me a liar, what I was saying was a falsehood, etc., as I am just starting the throes of withdrawing from a lot of drugs that were eroding me from the inside.

    Everything I said was suspect, as though I were lying on purpose. He was LOOKING FOR IT! That would not inspire trust nor anything healing, obviously. 2020 hindsight…

    I was confused, disoriented, brain jumbled, (which I knew, no one had to tell me, didn’t know what to expect would happen from there), in the worst pain of my life and scared to death. I was in mid-life and it was right after grad school, which is where this disaster started. I’d have no reason to lie, and I was in fact speaking a lot of truth raw, had no filter, which would be reasonable under the circumstances.

    I was trying to get back on track with life as I was healing and have medical support in my withdrawal. I was in a profound chemical daze and taking responsibility for my life. That was a huge fail, trusting this guy, and a specific group of therapists who threw me under the bus, and tragic irony to me. I know better now, it’s the system.

    Which leads to the other factor which lead to my utter despair and hopelessness—i.e., the profound lack of competence, insight, and just plain old-fashioned humanity and loving kindness by the professionals around me at that time, these were just nowhere to be found. These were mean, cold, rather robotic people, totally full of themselves, and they were in complete alliance with each other, loyalty to the system at the *extreme* expense of the client.

    If anything, consider that the “mental health” industry is injurious to the point of people wanting to kill themselves. That’s good research fodder, I think.

    I’m not trying to be sarcastic or grand stand, but I am angry about this. It’s hard to express adequately and with some kind of neutrality, this triggers me every time I think about it. But this article inspired me.

    I am so sick of NOT directing the responsibility where it should be, and I’m fed up with the lies that are confusing everyone. It’s driving everyone crazy at this point. So I’d like to officially give it back: Liars.

  3. This is so typical of both the psychiatric researchers and practitioners. They just can’t accept the truth, and give up their delusional belief in the “genetic” etiology of their DSM disorders and symptoms.

    “Despite finding no link between suicide and genetics,” the researchers claim the opposite, that suicide “has a prominent genetic component.”

    “Despite their results finding that no genetic markers for suicide appear to exist, the authors’ conclusion was ‘Larger sample sizes are required to detect moderate effects.'” And they’re alway begging for more bucks.

    I, for one, think every penny our government spent on “invalid” psychiatric research, and the psychiatrists’ iatrogenic illness creating treatments, should be returned, and the psychiatrists properly defunded, and many likely jailed.

    Since all medical doctors, including the psychiatrists, were taught in med school that both the antidepressants and antipsychotics can create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. Yet this very relevant – to all the non-medically trained “mental health,” psychological, therapy, and social workers – way to poison a person, is conveniently – for the psychiatrists – missing from their DSM.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

    What ever happened to Dr. Thomas Insel’s promise to defund research into the “invalid” DSM disorders? “Lucy, you’ve got some splaining to do.”

    Thank you, as always, Peter, for your honest reporting.

  4. Wow.

    We had to read between the lines a bit in this article, but the story is pretty clear: They are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to “genetic biomarkers” and mental health (or “illness”).

    Funny they picked suicide. Suicide is one of the odder human behaviors, and extra difficult to understand since every lifetime ends with death, anyway. So, might not every death, in some way, be a suicide?

    At this point, if psychologists have not figured out the basic mechanisms that push a person down into depression, apathy, self-harm and suicide, then they really need to turn in their sheepskins and go look for another job. It’s really not that hard. Especially if you see a human being as a spiritual being.

    Life in a biological body is degrading even in the best of times. It doesn’t take that many extra personal disasters or extreme pain or just constantly feeling like shit for someone to decide “screw this, I want to start over.” Of course, a lot of suicides don’t realize that they will be starting over. So when they get their new life (new body) and get settled in it, the first challenge that may come up could well be related to the fact that they abandoned the last life early.

    Here I am talking about this as if everyone is on the same page. I do that because that is what I hope to achieve. I realize that almost no one in the community (yet) understands life this way. But, as it is a much closer approximation to how life actually works, I will continue to talk about it. As I see it, we begin to see life this way, or the cult of psychiatric drugs and detention gets stronger and stronger.

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