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Posts Tagged ‘Lithium’

 

BBC News (5/1) reported that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, “drinking water which contains the element lithium may reduce the risk of suicide.” For the study, researchers from Japan’s Universities of Oita and Hiroshima “examined levels of lithium in drinking water and suicide rates in the prefecture of Oita, which has a population of more than one million,” and found that “the suicide rate was significantly lower in those areas with the highest levels of the element.” In fact, “even relatively low levels appeared to have a positive impact [on] suicide rates.” The team speculated that levels as low as “0.7 to 59 micrograms per liter” may provide “a cumulative protective effect on the brain from years of drinking this tap water.” But, while the authors “called for further research in other countries…they stopped short of any suggestion that lithium be added to drinking water.”

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MedWire(4/21, Cowen) reported that, according to a study to be published in the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms, researchers from the UK’s Cardiff University “have identified a possible mechanism for how lithium stabilizes the mood of people with bipolar disorder.” In performing “laboratory tests on cells,” the team “found that lithium affects a molecule called phosphatidyl inositol triphosphate (PIP3),” which is “important for controlling brain cell signaling. Specifically, lithium inhibits an enzyme called inositol monophosphatase (IMPase) that is required for making a simple sugar called inositol, from which PIP3 is made.” Notably, “increasing the amount of IMPase causes higher levels of PIP3, which can be reduced with lithium treatment.” Previously, research has linked the IMPA2 gene, “a variant of IMPase, to bipolar disorder.” The present study “suggests that lithium could counteract the changes in IMPA2.”

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