Most of us think of blood work as rather routine. But a new blood test that may be available in the future sounds like it would be anything but ordinary. In fact, it sounds like it has the potential to be downright controversial and even questionable ... According to Indiana University School of Medicine researchers, a "suicide risk blood test" could hypothetically predict a person's risk of taking their own life -- at present or even the likelihood of it over a lifetime.
They arrived at this conclusion by finding that certain biomarkers in the blood are linked, fairly reliably, to our risk of dying by suicide. Intriguing? Oh yes. But the idea that we might attempt to test for these biomarkers in just about anyone, as an everyday routine test, is a bit troubling ...
How would we really be able to put a test like that to good use? How would it work? Meaning what would a doctor's follow-up be if the test came back positive for someone with depression? How 'bout without? What if someone was having suicidal thoughts and the test did NOT point to these biomarkers? Would their actual risk be questioned? What kind of interventions/drugs (ugh) would they be offered vs. someone who had the biomarkers? Would someone with the biomarkers end up being stigmatized ... or hospitalized? See, it's definitely NOT something to be taken lightly!
Regardless, researchers note that the reality of a suicide risk blood test is a ways off ... The connection between the biomarkers and suicidal thoughts has only been found in people with known mental health issues. The next step will be to see if it can be found in the general population. And researchers will go from there. Let's just hope they ask and are able to answer most -- if not all -- of these difficult, poignant questions about a possible blood test's use if that is where this research leads us all.
How do you feel about the possibility of this test?