Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001 Page 7

New data strengthen cholesterol/violence connection

Two new studies again link low cholesterol levels and violent behavior, a finding reported by several research groups in recent years (see related articles, Crime Times, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 1, Page 7, Crime Times, 1998, Vol. 4, No. 2, Page 3, and Crime Times, 1996, Vol. 2, No. 4, Page 1 ).

In one study, Beatrice Golomb et al. compared the one-time cholesterol measurements of nearly 80,000 subjects participating in a Swedish health screening project with later arrest records for violent crimes. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers found that "violent criminals had significantly lower cholesterol than others identical in age, sex, alcohol [use] and education."

In related research, Marc Hillbrand et al. measured the serum cholesterol of 25 violent psychiatric patients, and asked them to report on their affective and cognitive states over a seven-day period. The researchers report, "Total serum cholesterol concentration was positively associated with measures of affect, cognitive efficiency, activation, and sociability, suggesting a link between low total serum cholesterol and dysphoria [negative mood]"-which, in turn, is a predisposing factor for violence in this population.

Researchers theorize that low cholesterol levels may lead to reduced activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Reduced serotonin activity, in turn, is strongly associated with depression and violent behavior.


"Low cholesterol and violent crime," B. A. Golomb, H. Stattin, and S. Mednick, Journal of Psychiatric Research, Vol. 34, July 2000, pp. 301-309. Address: Beatrice Golumb, Department of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 92093-0995.

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"Serum cholesterol concentrations and mood states in violent psychiatric patients: an experience sampling study," M. Hillbrand, B. M. Waite, D. S. Miller, R. T. Spitz, and V. M. Lingswiler, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 23, No. 6, December 2000, pp. 519-529. Address: Marc Hillbrand, Connecticut Valley Hospital, Whiting Forensic Division, P.O. Box 70, Middletown, CT 06457.

Related Article: [2001, Vol. 7]

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