Chronic hypobaric hypoxia -- a condition whereby blood oxygen levels gets reduced due to low atmospheric pressure -- may affect the mood and suicidal thoughts of a person living at altitudes between about 2,000 and 3,000 feet above the sea level.
"There are significant regional variations in the rates of major depressive disorder and suicide, suggesting that sociodemographic and environmental conditions play a role," said Brent Michael Kious, post-doctoral student at the University of Utah in the US.
Hypobaric hypoxia could promote suicide and depression by altering serotonin metabolism and brain bioenergetics -- both of these pathways are implicated in depression, and both are affected by hypoxia, the study showed.
The results found that populations living at higher altitudes had increased suicide rates despite having decreased rates of death from all causes, including substance abuse and cultural differences.
Some possible treatments to mitigate the effects of altitude on depression and suicide risk include supplemental 5-hydroxytryptophan (a serotonin precursor) to increase serotonin levels, or creatinine to influence brain bioenergetics, the researchers said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)