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STUDY: When too low enough?
JOURNAL: 16th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
AUTHORS: Dr. Y. Kim
ABSTRACT: A new study has found evidence that depressed patients with low cholesterol may be at increased risk of suicide.
COMMENTARY: Low levels of cholesterol in patients suffering from depression have previously been linked to suicide and violence, although the issue remains highly controversial.
The team compared cholesterol levels in 149 patients with major depression who were admitted to an emergency room after trying to committing or trying to commit suicide with those of 149 patients who also suffered from depression but who did not attempt suicide and those of 251 healthy controls.
"Significant differences in total serum cholesterol levels were observed between the suicide patients and non-suicide depressive patients when age, sex, body mass index and total serum proteins levels were controlled," Dr. Y. Kim said.
He said that cholesterol of 150 mg/dl or below was the cut-off point where it was possible to predict the risk of suicide with a high degree - 72% - of specificity. The cutoff point with the best possible sensitivity and specificity was 160 mg/dl.
Kim said further studies were needed but the results of this study "suggest that total cholesterol level can be used as a predictor for the risk of suicide and violent suicide attempt in depressive patients."