US researchers have identified a genetic indicator that could be used to predict a person’s risk of attempting suicide. [s]News-Medical[/s] reports that the indicator can be detected using a simple blood test, meaning therapists and doctors could be made aware of suicidal tendencies before it is too late for them to intervene. The study, led by Dr Zachary Kaminsky from [b]Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine[/b], focused on a mutation of the [i]SKA2 gene[/i] which is involved in keeping levels of the stress hormone cortisol under control. When Kaminsky and team analysed brain samples from healthy people and people who were mentally ill, they found that [i]SKA2[/i] levels were significantly reduced in samples taken from people who had committed suicide. ‘We need to study this in a larger sample but we believe that we might be able to monitor the blood to identify those at risk of suicide,’ Kaminsky said.