GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A lab at the Van Andel Institute in downtown Grand Rapids is at the forefront of the battle against the rising suicide rate in America.
Dr. VAI's Lena Brundin has partnered with Dr. Eric Achtyes of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services to conduct research into how inflammation in the body can show who is at risk of suicide.
“As we get sick, because we have stress in our lives, inflammation tends to increase. And we think it can affect our neurological function, depressive episodes and even suicide, "Achtyes explained.
Researchers will monitor 160 people for one year during this five-year study.
Patients will give blood samples. and clinical information, researchers will work to identify blood-based biomarkers and what causes the kind of inflammation that can put people at higher risk of suicide.
Brundin has been researching suicide for more than a decade. under secured with $ 3.6 million from the National Institute of Mental Health, most importantly for VAI and Pine Rest.
"This is the first study to track patients longitudinally and see after a year whether we have enough data to we will give a definitive answer, "Achtyes said.
Inflammation is the body's response to many things, including infection, injury, chronic illness, stress and lack of sleep.
"We are afraid that in some people, the inflammation will become chronic and rooted and then it can affect the brain," says Brundin.
With the many anti-inflammatory methods available, researchers hope to make their findings in the development of new therapies to help people at risk of suicide.
"But we still need to understand what type of inflammation is the dangerous type, and we need to do clinical trials in patients to see if this medicine can really help," Brandin says.
Researchers will begin enrolling participants in the Pine Rest study in October.
For people in crisis, the national suicide prevention hotline can always be reached at 1.800.273.8255 or online .
National Institute of Mental Health