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Lithium in drinking water and suicide rates across the East of England

  • Nikolett Kabacs (a1), Anjum Memon (a2), Thom Obinwa (a1), Jan Stochl (a3) and Jesus Perez (a4)...
Summary

Lithium can be found naturally in drinking water. In clinical practice, it is widely used in pharmacological doses for the treatment of bipolar disorder; and may also prevent suicidal behaviour in people with mood disorders. In two studies, lithium levels in tap water have been significantly and negatively correlated with suicide. We measured lithium levels in tap water in the 47 subdivisions of the East of England and correlated these with the respective suicide standardised mortality ratio in each subdivision. We found no association between lithium in drinking water and suicide rates across the East of England from 2006 to 2008.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Jesus Perez, Block 7, Ida Darwin, Fulbourn Hospital, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB21 5EE, UK. Email: jp440@cam.ac.uk
Footnotes
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See pp. 336–337, this issue

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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2 Baldessarini, RJ, Tondo, L, Davis, P, Pompili, M, Goodwin, FK, Hennen, J. Decreased risk of suicides and attempts during long-term lithium treatment: a meta-analytic review. Bipolar Disord 2006; 8: 625–39.
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4 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Bipolar Disorder. The Management of Bipolar Disorder in Adults, Children and Adolescents, in Primary and Secondary Care (Clinical Guideline 38). NICE, 2006.
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13 Schrauzer, GN. Lithium: occurrence, dietary intakes, nutritional essentiality. J Am Coll Nutr 2002; 21: 1421.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Lithium in drinking water and suicide rates across the East of England

  • Nikolett Kabacs (a1), Anjum Memon (a2), Thom Obinwa (a1), Jan Stochl (a3) and Jesus Perez (a4)...
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