Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Greenland's Constant Summer Sunlight Linked To Summer Suicide Spike

Date:
May 10, 2009
Source:
BMC Psychiatry
Summary:
Suicide rates in Greenland increase during the summer, peaking in June. Researchers speculate that insomnia caused by incessant daylight may be to blame.

Arctic iceberg by the light of the midnight sun, Greenland.
Credit: iStockphoto

Suicide rates in Greenland increase during the summer, peaking in June. Researchers speculate that insomnia caused by incessant daylight may be to blame.

Karin Sparring Björkstén from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, led a team of researchers who studied the seasonal variation of suicides in all of Greenland from 1968-2002. They found that there was a concentration of suicides in the summer months, and that this seasonal effect was especially pronounced in the North of the country – an area where the sun doesn't set between the end of April and the end of August.

Björkstén said, "In terms of seasonal light variation, Greenland is the most extreme human habitat. Greenland also has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. We found that suicides were almost exclusively violent and increased during periods of constant day. In the north of the country, 82% of the suicides occurred during the daylight months (including astronomical twilight)".

The researchers found that most suicides occurred in young men and that violent methods, such as shooting, hanging and jumping, accounted for 95% of all suicides. No seasonal variation in alcohol consumption was found.

The authors speculate that light-generated imbalances in turnover of the neurotransmitter serotonin may lead to increased impulsiveness that, in combination with lack of sleep, may explain the increased suicide rates in the summer. They said, "People living at high latitudes need extreme flexibility in light adaptation. During the long periods of constant light, it is crucial to keep some circadian rhythm to get enough sleep and sustain mental health. A weak serotonin system may cause difficulties in adaptation".

Björkstén concludes, "Light is just one of many factors in the complex tragedy of suicide, but this study shows that there is a possible relationship between the two."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMC Psychiatry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karin S Björkstén, Daniel F Kripke and Peter Bjerregaard. Accentuation of suicides but not homicides with rising latitudes of Greenland in the sunny months. BMC Psychiatry, 2009; 9 (1): 20 DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-9-20

Cite This Page:

BMC Psychiatry. "Greenland's Constant Summer Sunlight Linked To Summer Suicide Spike." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507190558.htm>.
BMC Psychiatry. (2009, May 10). Greenland's Constant Summer Sunlight Linked To Summer Suicide Spike. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507190558.htm
BMC Psychiatry. "Greenland's Constant Summer Sunlight Linked To Summer Suicide Spike." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507190558.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins