Lithium In Water 'Curbs Suicide'

Blinko_Glick

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Now then. Is it just me or is this just a tad worrying?


Drinking water which contains the element lithium may reduce the risk of suicide, a Japanese study suggests.

Researchers examined levels of lithium in drinking water and suicide rates in the prefecture of Oita, which has a population of more than one million.

The suicide rate was significantly lower in those areas with the highest levels of the element, they wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

High doses of lithium are already used to treat serious mood disorders.

But the team from the universities of Oita and Hiroshima found that even relatively low levels appeared to have a positive impact of suicide rates.

Levels ranged from 0.7 to 59 micrograms per litre. The researchers speculated that while these levels were low, there may be a cumulative protective effect on the brain from years of drinking this tap water.

At least one previous study has suggested an association between lithium in tap water and suicide. That research on data collected from the 1980s also found a significantly lower rate of suicide in areas with relatively high lithium levels.


The Japanese researchers called for further research in other countries but they stopped short of any suggestion that lithium be added to drinking water.

The discussion around adding fluoride to water to protect dental health has proved controversial - criticised by some as mass involuntary medication.

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Allan Young of Vancouver's Institute for Mental Health said "this intriguing data should provoke further research.

"Large-scale trials involving the addition of lithium to drinking water supplies may then be feasible, although this would undoubtedly be subject to considerable debate. Following up on these findings will not be straightforward or inexpensive, but the eventual benefits for community mental health may be considerable."

Sophie Corlett, external relations director at mental health charity Mind said the research "certainly merits more investigation.

"We already know that lithium can act as a powerful mood stabiliser for people with bipolar disorder, and treating people with lithium is also associated with lower suicide rates.

"However, lithium also has significant and an unpleasant side effects in higher doses, and can be toxic. Any suggestion that it should be added, even in tiny amounts, to drinking water should be treated with caution and researched very thoroughly."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8025454.stm
 

ramonmercado

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Psychiatrist calls for lithium to be added to water
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 74582.html
GORDON DEEGAN

Fri, Dec 02, 2011

A consultant psychiatrist last night called on Government to add lithium salts to the public water supply in a bid to lower the suicide rate and depression among the general population.

At a mental health forum on “Depression in Rural Ireland” in Ennistymon, Co Clare, Dr Moosajee Bhamjee said that “there is growing scientific evidence that adding trace amounts of the drug lithium to a water supply can lower rates of suicide and depression”.

Lithium is used by doctors as a mood stabiliser in the treatment for depression.

Dr Bhamjee said: “A recent article in the British Journal of Psychiatry found the beneficial uses of lithium when it was added to the water supply in parts of Texas.”

He said the Government should consider a pilot project for a town in Ireland where lithium salts could be added to the water in very small doses and examine the results.” He said there was already strong precedent for governments intervening in the operation of public water supply for health benefits by adding fluoride.

Dr Bhamjee said that a community would not get “hooked” on lithium “because the doses would be so small”.

He said: “There are 200,000 people suffering from depression in Ireland and the Government must think of new ways of tackling the problem.”

Fine Gael TD and chairman of the Irish Association of Suicidology, Dan Neville, told the forum the average annual suicide rate in Ireland in the 1960s was 64-65.

He said: “Last year, 483 people died by suicide and if you add the 123 undetermined deaths, the suicide number is over 600.”

He said: “This compares to 212 who died by road accidents, which is itself unacceptable.

“Research shows during international recessions, the suicide rate increases by 25 per cent. Ireland has the fourth highest youth suicide rate in Europe.”

Mr Neville added: “Suicide is the most common death for 15 to 24-year-olds and accounts for more than those who die from cancer and road accidents combined.”

The Limerick West deputy said that the attitude in mental health service towards those with mental health problems should be recovery and not containment.

He said: “Early intervention, you have 90 per cent cure and late intervention you have difficulties for life.”

Mr Neville said that with the well-publicised suicide of footballer Gary Speed, it raised contagion or copycat suicide concerns.
 

OneWingedBird

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Funny how they can get through two articles like that without just happening to mention that even in controlled useage the toxic dose is very close to the theraputic dose.

I wonder if these guys have shares is bottled water companies?
 

Electric_Monk

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I assumed from the repeated mentions of "very small dose" and "trace" amounts that they're talking about way below therapeutic doses, and more are talking about some effect that's been detected more subtly.

Of course, how much is that even then? I drink a lot of water, I don't want randomly drugged.
 

Mythopoeika

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First, fluoride - now this.
The less 'stuff' they put in the water, the better.
 

PeniG

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Also omitted is the fact that some mental patients get significantly worse on lithium.

I know because I have a friend who is an experienced mental patient (and a medical researcher, though she hasn't been stable enough to take the stress of lab work for a few years now), who during her last spell of hospitalization had a huge struggle to get the doctor on staff to recognize that her refusal to take lithium was based on past experience (all documented in her medical records if he could have been bothered to look at them) and was perfectly reasonable, not crazy-person recalcitrance. The nursing staff was all on her side, but nurses don't have the kind of power necessary in these circumstances.

Reactions to psychoactives vary wildly from person to person. We don't know enough about these drugs yet to go prescribing them wholesale.
 

ramonmercado

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I take lithium, while taking too much can make you ill, you would probably have to ingest a rather large amount to kill yourself. Lithium comes as a salt, often lithium-carbonate, just as much table salt would probably kill you.

But I don't think its a good idea to put lithium in water. Take lithium if you actually need it.
 

paranoid420

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I worry about the drugs in our drinking supply that got there after being flushed or peed out and the water filtration that isnt designed to stop that. Water supplies all over the world have detectable levels of things like anti epilepsy drugs, steroids, anti depressents, sex hormones etc. If your water supply is dowstream from a farm you are probably full of good veternary drugs already.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23503485/ns ... ing-water/
 

Timble2

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There are naturally occuring or lithium salts in water from some sources, also natural fluorides. And for those of you who think that bottled spring water is better than tap water, watch out for the ones with naturally occurring uranium,,,
 

PeniG

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I don't know how it is in the UK, but in the US there's regulations regarding acceptable levels of various things in public water supplies; none for bottled water. A lot of which is in fact tap water.

I only buy bottled water at the movies (because I can't sit through a movie without something to drink and I really don't need the sugar and caffeine from the sodas they sell); then I keep them in the refrigerator filled with tap water, and freeze them for long trips in the summer. Our local water is excellent quality and full of calcium.
 

kamalktk

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Timble2 said:
There are naturally occuring or lithium salts in water from some sources, also natural fluorides. And for those of you who think that bottled spring water is better than tap water, watch out for the ones with naturally occurring uranium,,,
But it gives me a healthy glow! :lol:
 

staticgirl

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Imagines a world where the government reads these papers and decides to dope people into submission......
 

Cochise

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Fortunately my water comes straight off the mountainside. If you all get your thinking chemically altered by tap water I'll let you know - ah, but wait a minute, maybe that explains somethng :evil: :D
 

EnolaGaia

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This newly-published meta-analysis supports the notion that micro-doses of lithium in drinking water correlates with lowered suicide mortality rates.
First Meta-Analysis Confirms Link Between Lithium in Drinking Water And Suicide Rates

For decades, lithium has been an often life-saving medication for people with mood disorders, most notably bipolar, with a proven ability to stabilise moods and reduce the risk of suicide in these highly vulnerable patients.

The doses used in psychiatry are relatively high - at least 200 milligrams per day, and side-effects have to be carefully monitored. But some research has indicated that even microdoses of the element, just 400 micrograms daily, can produce an improvement in mood (there are 1,000 micrograms in a milligram).

Since the 1990s, scientists have wondered whether the naturally occurring lithium in drinking water supplies across the world could produce effects at the level of the entire population ...

Over the years, a slew of observational or ecological studies have hinted at an association between higher levels of lithium in the public water supply, and lower rates of suicide mortality in the local population.

Now, a team of researchers in the UK has produced the first-ever meta-analysis of such studies, confirming this link. We don't know why this might be the case, but it's a curious path to tread. ...

An extensive crunch of the numbers revealed that higher lithium levels naturally occurring in drinking water were indeed linked with lower levels of suicide mortality in the area - what's known as an inverse association.

Of course, as with any complex analysis of the available literature, the results come with important caveats. The team emphasises that ecological studies are conducted to generate hypotheses - rather than being an answer, they're basically just posing the question. ...
FULL STORY:
https://www.sciencealert.com/first-...n-lithium-in-drinking-water-and-suicide-rates

ABSTRACT Of The Published Report:
https://www.cambridge.org/core/jour...ical-studies/B7DDAF6E2A818C45EA64F3424E12D67A
 

Bad Bungle

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In 1949 John Cade (an Australian psychiatrist) was injecting urine extracts from schizophrenic patients into hamsters in an attempt to isolate any metabolite compounds that may be causing the mental symptoms. Cade needed a control and as urea/uric acid is not water-soluble to any great degree, he injected lithium urate, known to be the most soluble urate compound. The hamsters became tranquil and once he determined it was the lithium that was the important bit, the science of lithium as a mood stabiliser was (re)born. But the way I heard it, the hamsters weren't tranquilised by the lithium, they became subdued because they were being poisoned by the urate. Had Cade used any other metal than lithium to make the soluble salt, his discovery would never had been made.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_(medication)
 

GNC

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Isn't it a bit Brave New World? A drugged populace to stop them going over the edge? Mind you, if it saves lives it's no bad thing, is it?
 

Mythopoeika

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Isn't it a bit Brave New World? A drugged populace to stop them going over the edge? Mind you, if it saves lives it's no bad thing, is it?
Fluoride in the water... it's the thin end of the wedge...
 

Naughty_Felid

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This newly-published meta-analysis supports the notion that micro-doses of lithium in drinking water correlates with lowered suicide mortality rates.


FULL STORY:
https://www.sciencealert.com/first-...n-lithium-in-drinking-water-and-suicide-rates

ABSTRACT Of The Published Report:
https://www.cambridge.org/core/jour...ical-studies/B7DDAF6E2A818C45EA64F3424E12D67A
I don't buy it. You need a fair amount of lithium to stabilize someone's mood. 400 micrograms I just can't see it working. Also, Lithium isn't well tolerated by a lot of people. It has side effects that are pretty nasty.


Also - just giving people medication does not magically stop people from killing themselves. Ridiculous. A lot of depressed people kill themselves after their mood has lifted.

Way to simplistic.
 
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kamalktk

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Also - just giving people medication does not magically stop people from killing themselves. Ridiculous. A lot of depressed people kill themselves after their mood has lifted.
A suddenly lifted mood can be a warning sign. tldr it can indicate they've decided to do it and that makes them feel better.
 

SkepticalX

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I do not want our government-run water systems introducing chemicals to sedate the populace. It sounds like the beginning of a bad science fiction movie. I can just hear Nancy Pelosi selling it as a way to save lives and make everyone feel safer. I can also imagine politicos would have an alternate, unadulterated water supply. The happy juice is just for the rank and file.
 
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