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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2015;16(8):567-74. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2015.1062551. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Relationships of local lithium concentrations in drinking water to regional suicide rates in Italy.

Author information

1
a Department of Neurosciences , Mental Health and Sensory Organs, Suicide Prevention Center, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome , Italy.
2
b National Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, National Institute of Health , Rome , Italy.
3
c Department of Biological , Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna , Bologna , Italy.
4
d Department of Psychiatry , Brunico , Italy.
5
e Department of Civil-Environmental Engineering and Architecture , University of Cagliari , Cagliari Italy.
6
f Department of Earth Sciences , University of Naples , Naples , Italy.
7
g Department of Science and Technology , University of Sannio , Benevento , Italy.
8
h Department of Psychiatry , University of Naples SUN , Naples , Italy.
9
i Department of Neuroscience , Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, Section of Psychiatry, University of Genoa , Genoa , Italy.
10
j Department of Psychiatry , Harvard Medical School , Boston , MA , USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Higher natural concentrations of lithium in drinking water may be associated with lower local rates of suicide.

METHODS:

Lithium concentrations in drinking water were assayed by mass spectrometry at 145 sites in Italy, and compared with reported local suicide rates for men and women between 1980 and 2011.

RESULTS:

Lithium concentrations in drinking water averaged 5.28 [CI: 4.08-6.48] μg/L (0.761 [0.588-0.934] μEq/L) and ranged from 0.110 to 60.8 μg/L (1.58 to 8.76 μEq/L). Lithium concentrations and local suicide rates were not significantly inversely related, except in 1980-1989, particularly among women.

CONCLUSIONS:

A proposed association between trace lithium concentrations in drinking water and risk of suicide was only partially supported, and mechanisms for potential clinical effects of trace levels of lithium are unknown.

KEYWORDS:

affective disorders; lithium; mood stabilizers; quality of life; suicide

PMID:
26230215
DOI:
10.3109/15622975.2015.1062551
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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