Use of gene expression biomarkers to predict suicidality

Author: Ries Simons
Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(7):659–660.

Since the tragic accident of Germanwings flight 4U9525, there has been discussion about methods to identify and prevent suicidality in pilots. Neurogenetic scientists claim that biomarker tests for suicidality as part of healthcare assessments may lead to early identification of suicidal behavior.

In this commentary the value of these gene expression biomarkers for aeromedical purposes is evaluated based on relevant literature. It is concluded that the currently identified biomarkers for suicidality need thorough validation before they can be used. The aeromedical examiner’s most important tool is still an anamnesis, in which warning signs of suicidal behavior can be picked up.

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