Suicide Check

Advances in biopsychiatry may lead to lab tests for self-destructive behavior and other mental disorders

It is a crisis that few in the emergency room are equipped to handle. Concerned friends have just arrived with a frightened man in his 20s. He is not bleeding. Nothing's broken. Yet he cannot stop crying, and his companions are worried that he might kill himself. Is he just having a bad night, or is he likely to do himself harm? When it comes to determining an individual's desire to commit suicide, physicians rely heavily on experience and intuition. There has never been a laboratory test that doctors could order that would help them measure the risk more precisely.


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