Low Cholesterol May Up Suicide Risk With Anorexia

People with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa are more likely to attempt suicide if their cholesterol levels are low, new research suggests. For several years, numerous studies have identified a link between low cholesterol and risk of suicide. However, it's far from clear if there's a cause and effect. Conceivably, low cholesterol might lower brain chemicals that affect mood, but on the other hand depression might cause a drop in cholesterol. Or, perhaps a third irregularity results in a drop in both cholesterol and mood-related hormones. In the current study, in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr. Paolo Santonastaso, of the University of Padua, Italy, and colleagues assessed cholesterol levels and nutritional status in 74 patients with anorexia nervosa before they started to eat again. All subjects completed a structured interview that evaluated suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

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