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Misuse of Hair Analysis as a Diagnostic Tool

Misuse of Hair Analysis as a Diagnostic Tool Abstract Many of us have been asked for our advice on or interpretation of a laboratory printout of a hair sample analysis. Despite this interest of our patients (or fellow physicians) in determining the implications for their (or their patients') hair or general health, it is well recognized by dermatologists and many nutritionists that mineral and trace element analysis of hair samples is not a clinically useful tool to assess nutritional status. The reasons for this are variability in environmental effects (hair care, occupational exposure, geographic location), differing growth rates (health, drug effect, age, gender), and lack of standardization in analysis techniques.1-4 The dangers of the current commercial availability of multimineral hair analysis are underscored in a recent article by Barrett5 in JAMA. In this study, information and instructions for submitting hair samples were obtained from 13 commercial laboratories offering hair analysis. The services offered by various laboratories included References 1. Lazar P: Hair analysis and health: A statement of the Committee on Cutaneous Health and Cosmetics . JAMA 1974;229:1908-1909.Crossref 2. Hambidge KM: Hair analysis: Worthless for vitamins, limited for minerals . Am J Clin Nutr 1982;36:943-949. 3. Rivlin RS: Misuse of hair analysis for nutritional assessment . Am J Med 1983;75:489-493.Crossref 4. Zlotkin SH: Hair analysis: A useful tool or a waste of money? Int J Dermatol 1985;24:161-164. 5. Barrett S: Commercial hair analysis: Science or scam? JAMA 1985;254:1041-1045.Crossref 6. Sherertz EF, Goldsmith LA: Nutritional influences on the skin , in Goldsmith LA (ed): Biochemistry and Physiology of the Skin . New York, Oxford University Press, 1983, vol 2, pp 1069-1081. 7. Saner G, Dagoglu T, Ozden T: Hair manganese concentrations in newborns and their mothers . Am J Clin Nutr 1985;41:1042-1044. 8. Moon C, Marlowe M, Stellern J, et al: Main and interaction effects of metallic pollutants on cognitive functioning . J Learn Disabil 1985;18:217-221.Crossref 9. Barlow PJ: A pilot study of metal levels in the hair of hyperactive children . Med Hypotheses 1983;11:309-318.Crossref 10. Rimland B, Larson GE: Hair mineral analysis and behavior: An analysis of 51 studies . J Learn Disabil 1983;16:279-285.Crossref 11. Pihl RO, Ervin FR, Pelletier G, et al: Hair element content of violent criminals . Can J Psychiatry 1982;27:533-534. 12. Medeiros DM, Pellum LK: Blood pressure and hair cadmium, lead, copper, and zinc concentrations in Mississippi adolescents . Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 1985;34:163-169.Crossref 13. Medeiros DM, Pellum LK: Elevation of cadmium, lead, and zinc in the hair of adult black female hypertensives . Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 1984;32:525-532.Crossref 14. Collipp PJ, Kuo B, Castro-Magana M, et al: Hair zinc, scalp hair quantity and diaper rash in normal infants . Cutis 1985;35:66-70. 15. Pratt WB, Phippen WG: Elevated hair copper level in idiopathic scoliosis: Preliminary observations . Spine 1980;5:230-233.Crossref 16. Maugh TH: Hair: A diagnostic tool to complement blood serum and urine . Science 1978;202:1271-1273.Crossref 17. Paisey RB, Clamp JR, Kent MJ, et al: Glycosylation of hair: Possible measure of chronic hyperglycemia . Br Med J Clin Res 1984;288:669-671.Crossref 18. Raghupathy L, Sharma VN: Zinc and copper concentration in the hair of workers from zinc-based industries in India . Sci Total Environ 1985;41:73-78.Crossref 19. Saner G, Yuzbasiyan V, Cigdem S: Hair chromium concentration and chromium excretion in tannery workers . Br J Ind Med 1984;41:263-266. 20. Carvalho F, Tavares TM, Souza SP, et al: Lead and cadmium concentrations in the hair of fishermen from the Subae River Basin, Brazil . Environ Res 1984;33:300-306.Crossref 21. Hammer DI, Finklea JF, Hendricks RM, et al: Hair trace metal levels and environmental exposure . Am J Epidemiol 1971;93:84-92. 22. Lubec G, Patrick AD, Nauer G, et al: Screening for Sanfilippo disease type A by infrared spectroscopy of hair . Lancet 1985;1:526-527.Crossref 23. Page T, Bakay B, Nyhan WL: An improved procedure for detection of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase heterozygotes . Clin Chem 1982;28:1181-1184. 24. Mudd JL: The determination of sex from forcibly removed hairs . J Forensic Sci 1984;29:1072-1080. 25. Suzuki O, Hattori H, Asano M: Detection of methamphetamine and amphetamine in a single human hair by gas chromatography/chemical ionization mass spectrometry . J Forensic Sci 1984;29:611-617. 26. Cortivo P, Biasiolo M, Scorretti C, et al: The detection of A and B antigens on human hair by the absorption-elution technique using LISS and papain-treated test cells . Z Rechtsmed 1984;91:195-199.Crossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Dermatology American Medical Association

Misuse of Hair Analysis as a Diagnostic Tool

Archives of Dermatology , Volume 121 (12) – Dec 1, 1985

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1985 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-987X
eISSN
1538-3652
DOI
10.1001/archderm.1985.01660120030013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Many of us have been asked for our advice on or interpretation of a laboratory printout of a hair sample analysis. Despite this interest of our patients (or fellow physicians) in determining the implications for their (or their patients') hair or general health, it is well recognized by dermatologists and many nutritionists that mineral and trace element analysis of hair samples is not a clinically useful tool to assess nutritional status. The reasons for this are variability in environmental effects (hair care, occupational exposure, geographic location), differing growth rates (health, drug effect, age, gender), and lack of standardization in analysis techniques.1-4 The dangers of the current commercial availability of multimineral hair analysis are underscored in a recent article by Barrett5 in JAMA. In this study, information and instructions for submitting hair samples were obtained from 13 commercial laboratories offering hair analysis. The services offered by various laboratories included References 1. Lazar P: Hair analysis and health: A statement of the Committee on Cutaneous Health and Cosmetics . JAMA 1974;229:1908-1909.Crossref 2. Hambidge KM: Hair analysis: Worthless for vitamins, limited for minerals . Am J Clin Nutr 1982;36:943-949. 3. Rivlin RS: Misuse of hair analysis for nutritional assessment . Am J Med 1983;75:489-493.Crossref 4. Zlotkin SH: Hair analysis: A useful tool or a waste of money? Int J Dermatol 1985;24:161-164. 5. Barrett S: Commercial hair analysis: Science or scam? JAMA 1985;254:1041-1045.Crossref 6. Sherertz EF, Goldsmith LA: Nutritional influences on the skin , in Goldsmith LA (ed): Biochemistry and Physiology of the Skin . New York, Oxford University Press, 1983, vol 2, pp 1069-1081. 7. Saner G, Dagoglu T, Ozden T: Hair manganese concentrations in newborns and their mothers . Am J Clin Nutr 1985;41:1042-1044. 8. Moon C, Marlowe M, Stellern J, et al: Main and interaction effects of metallic pollutants on cognitive functioning . J Learn Disabil 1985;18:217-221.Crossref 9. Barlow PJ: A pilot study of metal levels in the hair of hyperactive children . Med Hypotheses 1983;11:309-318.Crossref 10. Rimland B, Larson GE: Hair mineral analysis and behavior: An analysis of 51 studies . J Learn Disabil 1983;16:279-285.Crossref 11. Pihl RO, Ervin FR, Pelletier G, et al: Hair element content of violent criminals . Can J Psychiatry 1982;27:533-534. 12. Medeiros DM, Pellum LK: Blood pressure and hair cadmium, lead, copper, and zinc concentrations in Mississippi adolescents . Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 1985;34:163-169.Crossref 13. Medeiros DM, Pellum LK: Elevation of cadmium, lead, and zinc in the hair of adult black female hypertensives . Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 1984;32:525-532.Crossref 14. Collipp PJ, Kuo B, Castro-Magana M, et al: Hair zinc, scalp hair quantity and diaper rash in normal infants . Cutis 1985;35:66-70. 15. Pratt WB, Phippen WG: Elevated hair copper level in idiopathic scoliosis: Preliminary observations . Spine 1980;5:230-233.Crossref 16. Maugh TH: Hair: A diagnostic tool to complement blood serum and urine . Science 1978;202:1271-1273.Crossref 17. Paisey RB, Clamp JR, Kent MJ, et al: Glycosylation of hair: Possible measure of chronic hyperglycemia . Br Med J Clin Res 1984;288:669-671.Crossref 18. Raghupathy L, Sharma VN: Zinc and copper concentration in the hair of workers from zinc-based industries in India . Sci Total Environ 1985;41:73-78.Crossref 19. Saner G, Yuzbasiyan V, Cigdem S: Hair chromium concentration and chromium excretion in tannery workers . Br J Ind Med 1984;41:263-266. 20. Carvalho F, Tavares TM, Souza SP, et al: Lead and cadmium concentrations in the hair of fishermen from the Subae River Basin, Brazil . Environ Res 1984;33:300-306.Crossref 21. Hammer DI, Finklea JF, Hendricks RM, et al: Hair trace metal levels and environmental exposure . Am J Epidemiol 1971;93:84-92. 22. Lubec G, Patrick AD, Nauer G, et al: Screening for Sanfilippo disease type A by infrared spectroscopy of hair . Lancet 1985;1:526-527.Crossref 23. Page T, Bakay B, Nyhan WL: An improved procedure for detection of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase heterozygotes . Clin Chem 1982;28:1181-1184. 24. Mudd JL: The determination of sex from forcibly removed hairs . J Forensic Sci 1984;29:1072-1080. 25. Suzuki O, Hattori H, Asano M: Detection of methamphetamine and amphetamine in a single human hair by gas chromatography/chemical ionization mass spectrometry . J Forensic Sci 1984;29:611-617. 26. Cortivo P, Biasiolo M, Scorretti C, et al: The detection of A and B antigens on human hair by the absorption-elution technique using LISS and papain-treated test cells . Z Rechtsmed 1984;91:195-199.Crossref

Journal

Archives of DermatologyAmerican Medical Association

Published: Dec 1, 1985

References