Leo Sher, M.D.
Our research work, “Dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels in combat veterans with or without a history of suicide attempt” was published 5 years ago, in the July 2018 issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (1).
Demographic and clinical parameters of combat veterans who have made a suicide attempt postdeployment and combat veterans who have never made a suicide attempt were assessed and recorded. Blood samples were assayed for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS).
We have found that suicide attempters had higher Scale for Suicidal Ideation and Montgomery – Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS)—suicidal thoughts item scores in comparison with non-attempters at the time of study entry. There was a trend toward higher MADRS scores in the suicide attempter group compared with non-attempters.
We have observed that suicide attempters had significantly lower levels of DHEA and DHEAS compared with non-attempters. DHEAS levels negatively correlated with Scale for Suicidal Ideation scores in suicide non-attempters but not in suicide attempters. DHEA/DHEAS ratios positively correlate with total adolescence aggression scores, total adulthood aggression scores, and total aggression scale scores in suicide attempters but not in suicide non-attempters.
Our results indicated that combat veterans with a previous history of suicide attempt continued to demonstrate higher suicidal ideation in comparison to combat veterans without a history of suicide attempt. This may suggest that combat veterans with a history of suicide attempt are at an elevated suicide risk long after suicide attempt.
- Sher L, Flory J, Bierer L, Makotkine I, Yehuda R. Dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels in combat veterans with or without a history of suicide attempt. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2018 Jul;138(1):55-61. doi: 10.1111/acps.12897.