Several methods to determine heavy metals in the human brain

Erzsébet Andrási, Sarolta Igaz, Norbert Szoboszlai, Éva Farkas, Zsolt Ajtony

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

22 Citations (Scopus)


The determination of naturally occurring heavy metals in various parts of the human brain is discussed. The patients had no diseases in their central nervous systems (five individuals, mean age 70 years). Twenty brain parts were selected from both hemispheres. The analysis was carried out by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry and instrumental neutron activation analysis methods. Accuracy and precision of the applied techniques were tested by using standard reference materials. Two digestion methods were used to dissolve the brain samples for ICP-AES and GF-AAS. One was performed in a Parr-bomb and the second in a microwave oven. The present results show a non-homogeneous distribution of the essential elements (Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn) in normal human brain. Corresponding regions in both hemispheres showed an almost identical concentration of these elements. In the case of toxic elements (Pb, Cd) an average value in different brain regions can not be established because of the high variability of individual data. This study indicates that beside differences in Pb and Cd intake with foods or cigarette smoke inhalation, the main factors of the high inter-individual variability of these element concentrations in human brain parts may be a marked difference in individual elimination or accumulation capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-825
Number of pages7
JournalSpectrochimica acta, Part B: Atomic spectroscopy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 10 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 3rd European Furnace Symposium - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: Jun 14 1998Jun 18 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Spectroscopy

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