The purpose of the study was to determine the concentration of trace elements present in scalp hair sample of schizophrenic patients and to find out the relationship between trace elements level and nutritional status or socioeconomic factors. The study was conducted among 30 schizophrenic male patients and 30 healthy male volunteers. Patients were recruited from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University by random sampling. Hair trace element concentrations were determined by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy and analyzed by independent t test, Pearson's correlation analysis, regression analysis, and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Mn, Zn, Ca, Cu, and Cd concentrations of schizophrenic patients were 3.8 +/- 2.31 microg/gm, 171.6 +/- 59.04 microg/gm, 396.23 +/- 157.83 microg/gm, 15.40 +/- 5.68 microg/gm, and 1.14 +/- 0.89 microg/gm of hair sample, while those of control subjects were 4.4 +/- 2.32 microg/gm, 199.16 +/- 27.85 microg/gm, 620.9 +/- 181.55 microg/gm, 12.23 +/- 4.56 microg/gm, and 0.47 +/- 0.32 microg/gm of hair sample, respectively. The hair concentration of Zn and Ca decreased significantly (p = 0.024; p = 0.000, respectively) and the concentration of Cu and Cd increased significantly (p = 0.021; p = 0.000, respectively) in schizophrenic patients while the concentration of Mn (p = 0.321) remain unchanged. Socioeconomic data reveals that most of the patients were poor, middle-aged and divorced. Mean body mass indices (BMIs) of the control group (22.26 +/- 1.91 kg/m(2)) and the patient group (20.42 +/- 3.16 kg/m(2)) were within the normal range (18.5-25.0 kg/m(2)). Pearson's correlation analysis suggested that only Ca concentration of patients had a significant positive correlation with the BMI (r = 0.597; p = 0.000) which was further justified from the regression analysis (R (2) = 44%; t = 3.59; p = 0.002) and one-way ANOVA test (F = 3.62; p = 0.015). A significant decrease in the hair concentration of Zn and Ca as well as a significant increase in the hair concentration of Cu and Cd in schizophrenic patients than that of its control group was observed which may provide prognostic tool for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. However, further work with larger population is suggested to examine the exact correlation between trace element level and the degree of disorder.