Low serum cholesterol in violent but not in non-violent suicide attempters.Psychiatry Res. 2000 Aug 21; 95(2):103-8.PR
Many previous studies have suggested that low or lowered serum cholesterol levels may increase the risk of mortality not due to somatic disease: principally, suicide and violent death. Because violent death is rare, some studies have investigated afterwards the relation between cholesterol levels and either suicide attempts in psychiatric populations or violence in criminally violent populations. However, none of these studies have compared cholesterol levels in violent and non-violent suicide attempters. The blood of 25 consecutive drug-free patients following a violent suicide attempt and of 27 patients following a non-violent suicide attempt by drug overdose was drawn in the 24 h following admission. Patients with a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and with cholesterol-lowering therapy were excluded. Age, sex, body mass index, psychiatric diagnosis and the physical conditions of the suicide attempt were investigated. Thirty-two healthy subjects were used as a control group. There were no differences between the groups in age, frequency of psychiatric diagnoses or body mass index. There was more women in the group of non-violent suicide attempters than in that of violent suicide attempters (P<0.001). In analyses controlling for sex and age, the serum cholesterol concentration was 30% lower (F(2,82)=15.8; P<0.0001) in the group of violent suicide attempters (147+/-54 mg/dl) than in the group of non-violent suicide attempters (209+/-38 mg/dl) or control subjects (213+/-46 mg/dl). Our results showed that low serum cholesterol level is associated with the violence of the suicide attempt and not with the suicide attempt itself. Further investigations are necessary to determine the usefulness of this easily accessible parameter as a potential risk indicator for violent acts such as violent suicidal behavior in susceptible individuals.