African Journal of Biotechnology

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Effect of metal poisoning and the implications of gender and age on the elemental composition in patients with mental behavioural disorders

O Olabanji, JC Ngila, TAM Msagati, EA Oluyemi, FO Fatoye, BB Mamba


The objective of this work was to investigate the possible correlation between the exposure to selected toxic metals and the behavioural disorder of mentally ill patients. The study also sought to establish if gender and age of the patient had an effect on the pattern of the elemental distribution in their head hair and blood samples. To achieve this, the concentrations of a number of selected toxic metal elements were determined in 60 mentally ill patients and 43 healthy individuals (control) in Ile-Ife area, in Nigeria, using inductively coupled plasma spectrophotometer-optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES). The behavioural disorder cases investigated were 8 bipolar, 2 post partum psychosis, 43 schizophrenia and 7 non-specific cases. The concentration ranges of Cu, Zn, Ca, Li, V, Be (for both males and females), Cd and Sr (for females only) as analyzed from the patients’ head hair with behavioural disorders, were found to be similar with those of the controls. However, the concentration ranges of Al, Ba, Mg, Cr and Cd, Sr (for males only) were higher in patients than in the controls, while those for K and Fe were found to be higher in the controls than in the patients for both males and females. Blood samples analysis showed that, nearly all the elements were higher in the female (patients and control) than in the males; a possible indication that women may be at greater risk than men. It was also shown that, age may have an influence on the accumulation of some specific elements. The accuracy of the analytical results was experimentally demonstrated by NCS DC 73347 certified reference material that was analyzed along the standards while the significance of the data obtained was tested statistically at both p = 0.01 and 0.05.

Key words: Toxic metals, behavioural disorder, gender, age, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometer.

AJOL African Journals Online