Friday, May 3, 2013
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Omega 3 research is becoming more important to mental health. Add it to the expert review checklist of unforeseen intervening causes in suicide.
"August 26, 2011 — Low levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the major omega-3 fatty acid concentrated in the brain, may increase suicide risk, new research suggests.
A retrospective case-control study of1600 United States military personnel, including 800 who had committed suicide and 800 healthy counterparts, showed that all participants had low omega-3 levels. However, the suicide risk was 62% greatest in those with the lowest levels of DHA.
Our findings add to an extensive body of research that points to a fundamental role for DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids in protecting against mental health problems and suicide risk.
"Our findings add to an extensive body of research that points to a fundamental role for DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids in protecting against mental health problems and suicide risks," co–principal investigator Capt. Joseph R. Hibbeln, MD, acting chief, Section on Nutritional Neurosciences at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, said in a statement.
Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln
He told Medscape Medical News that the US military "goes to great steps" to ensure they provide the best nutrition to their soldiers, especially in combat and deployment situations. However, these findings on the potential usefulness of omega-3 fatty acids for the brain should be taken into account when designing military diets in the future.
"Omega-3 is already recommended by the American Psychiatric Association as adjunctive therapy for anybody with a psychiatric disorder, especially for those with major depression," said Dr. Hibbeln.
When asked whether he would recommend omega-3 even to those without a diagnosis, Dr. Hibbeln replied, "it certainly wouldn't hurt."
"It's best not to categorize this as 'a drug,' but instead as a fundamental nutrient."
Monday, April 25, 2011
"Two recent preliminary studies that found a positive correlation between altitude and suicide relied on the average or highest state altitude, or the elevation of the state capital city, to represent the altitude of the entire state.
However, US states vary greatly in altitude, and this method severely minimizes this variation, Dr. Brenner's team points out. Because counties vary considerably less in altitude than an entire state, they reexamined the altitude-suicide link at a county level.
The investigators included all 2584 US counties in their analysis. They examined county-specific mortality data for 20 years (1979-1998) and determined altitude for each county using the US Geologic Survey.
During the study period, among 42,868,100 total deaths, there were 596,704 suicide deaths (1.4%).
There was a negative correlation between county altitude and all-cause mortality (r = −0.31; P < .001), yet a "strong positive correlation" between county altitude and suicide rate (r = 0.50; P < .001). Positive correlations were seen for both firearm-related suicides (r = 0.40; P < .001) and non–firearm-related suicides (r = 0.31; P < .001).
Prior reports of increased suicide rates in the US mountainous region have fueled speculation that the excess may be due to greater access to firearms, increased isolation, or reduced income. But even after controlling for these variables, the positive correlation between altitude and suicide still exists, they report."
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
"A new study in patients with bipolar disorder (BPD) strongly suggests a genomewide association between attempted suicide and a region on chromosome 2 containing the ACP1 gene.
Expression of this gene, which influences a lithium-regulated pathway, is also elevated in BPD individuals who complete suicide, according to the study, which was published online March 22 in Molecular Psychiatry.
Suicide risk is greater in individuals with alcoholism, depression, or BPD. However, previous work has shown that offspring of mood-disordered and suicidal parents are at higher risk (12%) of attempting suicide than offspring of similar but nonsuicidal parents (2%).
The present genomewide association study looked for genetic associations with suicidal behavior in BPD individuals with or without a history of attempted suicide. Diagnosis of BPD was based on criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition Revised) or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition).
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were analyzed in 1201 BPD individuals who had attempted suicide and 1497 who had not. Initial genotyping found 2507 SNPs associated with suicide attempts at P < .001, with strongest association (P = 1.09 × 10−6) at a locus on chromosome 2 (2p25)."
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Update: NYT article . If homosexuality is supposed to be normal, and not a disorder, then it is puzzling that a person would be upset by any exposure. The defendants have not expressed any hostility toward homosexuals. There is one person who expressed an extreme form of hostility to homosexuality, the suicider. He found exposure so intolerable, he had to kill himself.
Bullying, Suicide, Punishment
Published: October 2, 2010
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Legal Debate Swirls Over Charges in a Student’s Suicide (October 2, 2010)
Before a Suicide, Hints in Online Musings (October 1, 2010)
Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump (September 30, 2010)
The prosecutor in the case has also said that he will investigate bringing bias charges, based on Mr. Clementi’s sexual orientation, which could raise the punishment to 10 years in prison from 5.
But the case has stirred passionate anger, and many have called for tougher charges, like manslaughter — just as outrage led to similar calls against the six students accused of bullying Phoebe Prince, a student in South Hadley, Mass., who also committed suicide earlier this year.
What should the punishment be for acts like cyberbullying and online humiliation?
That question is as difficult to answer as how to integrate our values with all the things in our lives made of bits, balancing a right to privacy with the urge to text, tweet, stream and post.
And the outcry over proper punishment is also part of the continuing debate about how to handle personal responsibility and freedom. Just how culpable is an online bully in someone’s decision to end a life?
It is not the first time cruel acts and online distribution have combined tragically. In 2008, Jessica Logan, 18, hung herself after an ex-boyfriend circulated the nude cellphone snapshots she had “sexted” to him.
Public humiliation and sexual orientation can be an especially deadly blend. In recent weeks, several students have committed suicide after instances that have been described as cyberbullying over sexual orientation, including Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old in Tehachapi, Calif., who hanged himself from a tree in his backyard last month and died after more than a week on life support.
A survey of more than 5,000 college students, faculty members and staff members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender published last month by the advocacy group Campus Pride found that nearly one in four reported harassment, almost all related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Warren J. Blumenfeld, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at Iowa State University and an author of the Campus Pride study, also conducted a smaller survey of 350 nonheterosexual students between the ages of 11 and 22 and found that about half of the respondents reported being cyberbullied in the 30 days before the survey, and that more than a quarter had suicidal thoughts.
“Those students who are face-to-face bullied, and/or cyberbullied, face increased risk for depression, PTSD, and suicidal attempts and ideation,” Professor Blumenfeld said.
But punishment for people who do such a thing is still up for debate. In the Rutgers case, New Jersey prosecutors initially charged the two students, Dharum Ravi and Molly W. Wei, with two counts each of invasion of privacy for using the camera on Sept. 19. Mr. Ravi faces two additional counts for a second, unsuccessful attempt to view and transmit another image of Mr. Clementi two days later.
If Mr. Ravi’s actions constituted a bias crime, that could raise the charges from third-degree invasion of privacy to second degree, and double the possible punishment to 10 years.
Still, for all the talk of cyberbullying, the state statute regarding that particular crime seems ill suited to Mr. Clementi’s suicide.
Like most states with a cyberbullying statute, New Jersey’s focuses on primary and high school education, found in the part of the legal code devoted to education, not criminal acts. The privacy law in this case is used more often in high-tech peeping Tom cases involving hidden cameras in dressing rooms and bathrooms. State Senator Barbara Buono sponsored both pieces of legislation, and said the law had to adapt to new technologies. “No law is perfect,” she said. “No law can deter every and any instance of this kind of behavior. We’re going to try to do a better job.”
Still, the punishment must fit the crime, not the sense of outrage over it. While some have called for manslaughter charges in the Rutgers case, those are difficult to make stick. Reaching a guilty verdict would require that the suicide be viewed by a jury as foreseeable — a high hurdle in an age when most children report some degree of bullying.
Besides, finding the toughest possible charges isn’t the way the law is supposed to work, said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University who specializes in cybercrime. “There’s an understandable wish by prosecutors to respond to the moral outrage of society,” he said, “but the important thing is for the prosecution to follow the law.”
The fact that a case of bullying ends in suicide should not bend the judgment of prosecutors, he said. Society should be concerned, he said, when it appears that the government is “prosecuting people not for what they did, but for what the victim did in response.”
Finding the right level of prosecution, then, can be a challenge. On the one hand, he said, “it’s college — everybody is playing pranks on everybody else.” On the other, “invading somebody’s privacy can inflict such great distress that invasions of privacy should be punished, and punished significantly.”