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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2015, Article ID 797862, 5 pages
Research Article

Elevated Blood Ammonia Level Is a Potential Biological Risk Factor of Behavioral Disorders in Prisoners

1Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 16, Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Received 11 July 2015; Revised 1 September 2015; Accepted 6 September 2015

Academic Editor: João Quevedo

Copyright © 2015 Yunfeng Duan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hydrothion (H2S) and ammonia (NH3) can be toxic for the human central nervous system and cause psychological disturbances and behavioral disorders. In order to evaluate the association between the two potential toxicants and mental health, in this study, we compare a male prisoner and control population. Forty-nine male prisoners and 52 control volunteers took part in the study. An aggressive behavior assessment, the Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used to characterize the participants’ mental health status. Venous blood was collected for detection of H2S and NH3. The results indicated that blood NH3 was significantly higher in male prisoners than in controls. However, blood H2S was significantly lower. Blood NH3 was also significantly and positively correlated with prisoners. In the multivariate adjusted models, after controlling for age, education, marital status, and BMI, we found a positive association between NH3 and prisoners, but not blood H2S. While the functions of the two toxicants were quite different, blood NH3 may be a potential biological risk factor for behavioral disorders and blood H2S showed neuroprotection. Additionally, the impact of other factors such as diet and gut bacteria should be considered when evaluating risk for behavioral disorders.