Two grants to research program about suicide prevention

In the end of 2021, project Saving lives received two grants: 4.9 million kronor from Forte (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) and 2.4 million kronor from The Swedish Research Council. The research program involves several members from the research group, and the principal investigator of the project is Christian Rück.

Congratulations! 🎯

Saving lives: Constructing a nationwide cohort with multimodal data to improve precision in prediction and prevention of suicide

Project summary:

Suicide is a major public health issue, causing severe impact on individuals and families, as well as relevant societal costs. In Sweden alone, ~70,000 years of potential life are lost each year due to suicide. Despite dedicated research efforts and prevention strategies, suicide-related outcomes are still difficult to predict and prevent. The goal of this research program is to utilize unique resources in Sweden to improve prediction of suicide by integrating environmental factors captured by national registers and genetic information using multi-modal modelling. 

In aim 1, we will create the world’s largest suicide biobank by collecting neonatal blood spots stored at the Swedish PKU biobank from 4,000 individuals that died by suicide, i.e. total coverage of all suicides in Sweden from 1975 and onwards. DNA will be extracted from each of these blood spots. Data from the national registers will be added, covering major risk factors across the lifetime (socioeconomic, demographic and medical). Further, blood spots and register data from 8000 matched controls with no suicidal outcomes will be available through collaboration. 

In aim 2, we will identify register-based risk factors and genetic variants associated with suicide by genotyping all DNA samples from cases and matched controls and performing a case-control genome-wide association study meta-analysis. 

In aim 3, we will combine hundreds of candidate suicide predictors from the national registers (covering demographics, socioeconomic status, In aim 3, we will combine hundreds of candidate suicide predictors from the national registers (covering demographics, socioeconomic status, electronic medical records, criminality) with genetic predictors (polygenic risk scores for suicide, depression, impulsivity, and substance misuse) using both established quantitative modelling and newer machine learning approaches.

Rücklab 2021 summary

Today we had the last research group meeting of the year, the first one in a long while in person at Psykiatri Sydväst. We summarized the year that has gone by and looked ahead to 2022.

This year, new research tracks have been added to the group. In addition to OCD and related disorders, we now work with projects about “exhaustion disorder” (Swedish diagnosis utmattningssyndrom), trauma and suicide.

Apart from this, the research group’s members ongoing projects involve:

  • Trichotillomania and skin-picking disorder
  • Body dysphoric disorder, focused on dissatisfaction of genitals
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Tics and tourettes
  • Internet delivered psychological treatment
  • Statistical modelling
  • Genetics and microbiome in patients with OCD
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation for major depression
  • Deep brain stimulation for OCD

The group is now extensive and well equipped for exciting new research!

Grant from the Swedish Research Council

A member of our Research Group, John Wallert, recently received a 4.5 million SEK grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, VR) for his project about suicide among compulsory mental care

The project is a collaboration with Oxford University and involves studying risk factors for suicide in a cohort of more than 100 000 compulsory mental Care acts (Lagen om psykiatrisk tvångsvård, LPT, in Swedish), using 40 years of unique national register data.

Congratulations! 

Increased risk of suicide in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

title Fernández de la Cruz et al

In a recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry, members of our group and colleagues at Karolinska Institutet have looked at suicide in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The study compared rates of suicide among 36 788 patients with OCD and matched controls without an OCD diagnosis.

The risk of dying by suicide was found to be about 10 times higher in patients with OCD (OR = 9.83 (95% CI, 8.72-11.08). Patients with OCD were also about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide (OR = 5.45 (05% CI, 5.24-5.67). The risk was marginally attenuated in women compared to men.

Lorena Fernández de la Cruz and her co-authors also note that the increased risk of death by suicide

“… remained substantial after adjusting for different groups of psychiatric comorbidities that are already known to be associated with suicide. In fact, 43% of the individuals from the OCD cohort who died by suicide did not have any other recorded psychiatric comorbidity.” (p. 4)

They argue that OCD is associated with an increased risk of death by suicide in its own right. The main predictor for dying by suicide was a previous suicide attempt.

The message for clinicians is clear:

“OCD should be added to the list of psychiatric disorders that are known to increase the risk of suicide in their own right. Suicide risk needs to be carefully monitored in these patients, particularly in those who have previously attempted suicide.” (p. 6)

The paper is freely available here.