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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 6044-6048; doi:10.3390/ijerph10116044

Lithium in Tap Water and Suicide Mortality in Japan

1,* , 1
1 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Hirosaki University School of Medicine, 5 Zaifucho, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8562, Japan 2 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Idaigaoka 1-1, Hasama-machi, Yufu, Oita 879-5593, Japan 3 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 / Revised: 5 November 2013 / Accepted: 7 November 2013 / Published: 12 November 2013
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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 lithium; suicide rate; Japan
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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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.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert