Background: Hair analysis is used for estimation of the nutritional status of individuals. In the present work, a systematic review on the relation between the mineral composition of hair and the physical or mental disorders is discussed. Detailed information of examined populations, methods of sample preparations and analytical techniques are presented.
Methods: A systematic literature search in four electronic databases Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science and Medline (from 1997 to 2012/01/31) for English language articles was performed. In addition, a reference list and manual search was undertaken.
Results: The following number of studies was included: 66. Most of the authors reported that there exists a correlation between deficiency or excess of some elements in hair and occurrence of some diseases, such as: autism, cancer, hypertension, myocardial infarction, kidney disease and diabetes mellitus. However, not all results were consistent.
Conclusions: Most of the authors concluded that the profile of hair mineral imbalance might be useful as a diagnostic tool for the early diagnosis of many diseases. However, it seems that there is a need to standardize sample preparation procedures, in particular washing and mineralization methods.
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