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J Psychosom Res. 1995 Jul;39(5):549-62.

Cholesterol and psychological well-being.

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Health Behaviour Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, UK.


The debate about possible adverse effects associated with low or lowered serum cholesterol has raised important scientific questions concerning the links between lipids and behaviour. One of the most unexpected findings has been an association between cholesterol-lowering treatment and accidental death. A similar association has also emerged among the prospective cohort studies, with higher-than-expected numbers of suicide deaths in the lowest cholesterol groups. These observations have prompted speculation that behavioural or emotional disturbances could be part of the process linking lipids and accidental death. In this paper, the epidemiological literature is reviewed briefly, then the evidence for depression as a mediating condition is discussed. Two conclusions are drawn from this review of the literature. One is that understanding the relationship between the biology of lipids and the psychobiology of mood is demonstrably an important scientific and public health issue. The second is that the introduction of new treatments or preventive programmes should include a careful evaluation of the psychological as well as the physical effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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