Elemental anomalies in hair as indicators of endocrinologic pathologies & deficiencies

Elemental anomalies in hair as indicators of endocrinologic pathologies and deficiencies in calcium and bone metabolism 

A
nalytical results obtained by ICP of hair samples from a group of women from Rio de Janeiro city show that abnormal Ca and P concentrations in this compartment can be an indication of pathologies affecting the metabolism of these elements. The study was conducted initially on 900 women (outpatients, >40 years). From this group, approx. 24% showed anomalously high or low Ca concentrations in hair, in some cases correlated to anomalies of other elements. In 144 cases (16%), very high concentrations of Ca (up to 8285 ppm) were measured, frequently correlated with high concentration of P (up to 4720 ppm), exceeding by far the reference intervals for this age/sex group. Follow-up studies of a few individuals from this group gave first indications that their abnormal hair composition was related to endocrine pathologies effecting calcium/bone metabolism. Very low Ca-concentrations were observed in older women (72 cases, age>60 years) and related to senile osteoporosis. Complementary investigations of patients with recognized endocrinologic pathologies (hyperthyroidism, hype-and hypothyroidism) and osteomalacia gave statistical support for the hypothesis that hair concentrations of Ca, P and various other elements are influenced characteristically by these diseases. In Patients with hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism, both elements showed significant increase in hair, whereas patients with rickets/osteomalacia had only elevated Ca concentrations, together with suspiciously high toxic levels of Cd and various other elements (Fe, Mn, Mg, Sr, Ba). Patients with hypoparathyroididism had significantly decreased Ca and P concentrations in hair. Statistical evaluation of these data by multivariant analysis (MANOVA) using a contrast matrix and by discriminant analysis showed that elemental hair anomalies can be used to diagnose correctly the abovementioned pathologies, demonstrating the usefulness of hair analysis as a complementary tool for detection of disturbances in calcium/bone metabolism.

Miekeley N, de Carvalho Fortes LM, Porto da Silveira CL, Lima MB, J Trace Elem Med Biol 2001;15:46-55