Genetic and Clinical Predictors of Suicidal Behavior in Veterans Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

ID Number 08-1456

Contact Information
Kelly Ryberg
Tel: 718-741-4000 x6152
E-mail: kelly.ryberg@va.gov

This study is open to all eligible combat veterans, who either do or do not have a history of suicide attempts.

Veterans experiencing thoughts of suicide are a growing at-risk population, and it is vital to develop effective strategies for suicide prevention. Psychological and genetic markers exist for a wide variety of behaviors, and we believe that it is possible to identify such markers for suicidal behavior.

In 2010, 468 men and women in the military committed suicide, which is more than the number of service members who died in combat. The contribution of extreme stress experienced during deployment is thought to be a contributor to suicidal behavior, raising the question of whether in combat veterans, there are additional markers of suicidality other than those that have been associated with suicidality in non-veterans (like impulsivity and aggression).

PTSD occurs in about one third of combat veterans, and is associated with suicide completion and suicidal ideation with active planning. However, not all combat veterans with PTSD express suicidal ideation, and not all persons exposed to combat trauma are suicidal, even if they develop PTSD and suicidal ideation.

This research study will differences in genetics and gene expression profiles associated with suicidal behavior in veterans. Identification of genetic markers for suicidal behavior in this group would contribute to efforts to identify more accurately persons at greater risk for suicidal behavior following trauma; this will help identify pathways that may be related to suicide and, accordingly, the development of more effective strategies for prevention of suicide in this growing at-risk population.

Participants in the study will involve two visits, which will include a psychological evaluation, followed by a blood draw on which several analyses will be performed. Appointments can be scheduled as convenient for you. You will be compensated $100 for your time.

Please call Kelly Ryberg at 718-741-4000 x6152 if you are interested in participating or have any questions.