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Brain scans may detect suicidal thoughts: Study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Brain scans may be able to identify people at risk of attempting suicide, say scientists who have discovered a linked to suicidal thoughts in people with post-traumatic disorder (PTSD).

The risk of among individuals with is much higher than the general population, but identifying those individuals at greatest risk has been difficult.

Researchers at in the US used PET to measure levels of metabotropic glutamatergic receptor 5 (mGluR5) -- which has been implicated in anxiety and -- in individuals with and

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found high levels of mGluR5 in the group with current suicidal thoughts.

The team found no such elevated levels in the PTSD group with no suicidal thoughts or in those with depression, with or without current suicidal thoughts.

There are two approved treatments for PTSD, but it can take weeks or months to determine whether they are effective, researchers said. That can be too late for those who are suicidal.

"If you have people who suffer from high blood pressure, you want to reduce those levels right away," said Irina Esterlis, at Yale.

"We don't have that option with PTSD," Esterlis said in a statement.

Esterlis said testing for levels of mGluR5 in people who have experienced severe trauma might help identify those at greatest risk of harming themselves and prompt psychiatric interventions.

Regulating levels mGluR5 could also minimise risk in PTSD patients, Esterlis said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 17:11 IST