Suicide risk greater for those living at higher altitudes

Written by: Ani
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Washington, Jan 14 (ANI): A 20-year analysis of mortality data from counties across the United States has found that living at higher altitudes may be a risk factor for suicide.

The study was conducted jointly by scientists from University Hospitals Case Medical Center (Cleveland, OH), University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (PA), and Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston).

The team examined cause-of-death data from all 2,584 U.S. counties between 1979 and 1998 and found that, as a group, people living at higher elevations had a statistically significant higher rate of suicide.

The positive correlation between elevation and suicide risk was present even when the authors controlled for known suicide risk factors, such as older age, male sex, white race, and low income.

Interestingly, the authors determined that the increased suicide rates at higher altitudes are not part of a broader association between mortality from all causes and living at higher elevations. In fact, they report a significantly lower overall mortality rate at higher altitudes.

Their finding has been published online in High Altitude Medicine and Biology. (ANI)

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