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Lithium in Tap Water and Suicide Mortality in Japan
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Hirosaki University School of Medicine, 5 Zaifucho, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8562, Japan
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Idaigaoka 1-1, Hasama-machi, Yufu, Oita 879-5593, Japan
Department of Clinical Psychology, Hiroshima International University, 555-36 Kurose-Gakuendai, Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-2695, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 October 2013; in revised form: 5 November 2013 / Accepted: 7 November 2013 / Published: 12 November 2013
Abstract: Lithium has been used as a mood-stabilizing drug in people with mood disorders. Previous studies have shown that natural levels of lithium in drinking water may protect against suicide. This study evaluated the association between lithium levels in tap water and the suicide standardized mortality ratio (SMR) in 40 municipalities of Aomori prefecture, which has the highest levels of suicide mortality rate in Japan. Lithium levels in the tap water supplies of each municipality were measured using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. After adjusting for confounders, a statistical trend toward significance was found for the relationship between lithium levels and the average SMR among females. These findings indicate that natural levels of lithium in drinking water might have a protective effect on the risk of suicide among females. Future research is warranted to confirm this association.
Keywords: lithium; suicide rate; Japan
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Sugawara, N.; Yasui-Furukori, N.; Ishii, N.; Iwata, N.; Terao, T. Lithium in Tap Water and Suicide Mortality in Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 6044-6048.
Sugawara N, Yasui-Furukori N, Ishii N, Iwata N, Terao T. Lithium in Tap Water and Suicide Mortality in Japan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(11):6044-6048.
Sugawara, Norio; Yasui-Furukori, Norio; Ishii, Nobuyoshi; Iwata, Noboru; Terao, Takeshi. 2013. "Lithium in Tap Water and Suicide Mortality in Japan." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 11: 6044-6048.