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Mood Enzyme Decreased in Teen Suicide Victims

The activity of a brain enzyme that affects mood may be decreased in teen suicide victims, according to a recent study.

Some 30,000 people in the U.S. die annually of suicide. Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers. Although experts understand the psychological and psychosocial factors associated with teenage suicide, little is known about neurobiological markers. Protein kinase C (PKC), an enzyme in the brain, has been linked with mood disorders and is the target of some mood-stabilizing drugs. But what is the link between PKC and teen suicide?

Researchers examined the brains of 17 teenage suicide victims and compared them to an equal number of teens who didn't die from suicide and PKC activity was measured from each brain.

They found PKC activity was statistically significantly decreased in measurements in certain areas in teenage suicide victims' brains compared with measurements from control subjects.

I certainly hope these findings don't lead parents to consider medicating their children with antidepressants, because using these "band-aid" drugs can increase their risk of suicide.

Science Daily July 12, 2004

Archives of General Psychiatry July 2004 Vol. 61 No. 7

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