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February 12, 2009


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Wow, what a good story. As a footnote -- and as you alluded in the last sentence -- there is some speculation that suicidal tendencies are genetic, ironically enough. (I pulled up some PUBMED info here, http://neurologicalcorrelates.com/wordpress/2007/09/29/neurological-correlates-going-on-anti-depressants-and-thinking-id-rather-be-dead/
Your reader, Swivelchair

Romeo Vitelli

Thank you for your comment. I don't know if I accept that suicide can be genetic although depression certainly seems to be. If may just be that Fitzroy was influenced by his uncle's example to copy his method of suicide.


Hello again, thank you for your blog.

Didn't mean to say that suicide per se is determined by genes (nor any act for that matter).
Sorry I can't link, but here's a citation off of PUBMED --

Thanks again for the great blog -

Psychiatr Danub. 2007 Sep;19(3):139-53.
Genetic factors in suicide: reassessment of adoption studies and individuals' beliefs about adoption study findings.
Voracek M.

Spanish Inquisitor

That's a great historical vignette.

Are there any PUBMED articles on the relationship between religion and mental illness?

Romeo  Vitelli

Thank you for your comment but I'm not sure that I understand your question. Religion is a powerful influence that can certainly affect our thoughts and actions. As to suicidal behaviour, there is evidence to suggest that there is an inverse relationship between religiosity and suicide. The best link that I could find is the one below


Spanish Inquisitor

Sorry. It was a snarky kind of question.

I often get the feeling when dealing with religious fervor that there's a strong correlation between the delusional and the religious. Have you ever seen any of those street corner preachers? Delusional to me implies mentally (I want to say "ill", but instead will opt for) unbalanced. So I was just curious as to whether there was any scientific or medical research on the question. The one you found indicates yes and no, depending on different factors, so I'd say it's inconclusive.

Thanks for looking. As I said, I did enjoy the article. I didn't know the back story on the Voyage of the Beagle, and found it fascinating. History is my favorite subject.

Dr X

Fascinating post. Such a sad ending for Fitzroy.

Romeo  Vitelli

It seemed to be his preoccupation with his uncle's suicide that led him to kill himself in the same way that his uncle did.

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