April 1, 2010, Updated September 24, 2012

A landmark Israeli-American study that can predict who among people suffering from depression is most likely to attempt suicide has been published in the prestigious journal Schizophrenia Research.

The Israeli and American researchers identified variables that are reliable predictors of suicide attempts after tracking 600 patients admitted to hospitals in New York’s Suffolk County with a psychotic illness. The subjects were followed for more than a decade.

With the identification of the variables, which include prior suicide attempts, severity of depression and history of substance abuse, psychiatrists should be able to prevent suicide among those who are at higher risk by monitoring them and providing early interventions.

The study, published by Prof. Jonathan Rabinowitz of Bar-Ilan University, his doctoral student Shelly Bakst, and Prof. Evelyn Bromet of Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York, was funded by the US National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health.

The researchers’ previous study, published last year in Schizophrenia Bulletin, found that people with lower functioning exhibited a higher risk of suicidal behavior.

Meanwhile, Rabinowitz has joined an international consortium of scientists and pharmaceutical leaders, called NEWMEDS that is working to develop effective drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia and depression.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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