A preliminary study for non-invasive quantification of manganese in human hand bones
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Manganese (Mn) is a nutrient essential for regulating neurological and skeletal functions in the human body, but it is also toxic when humans are excessively exposed to Mn. Blood (or serum/plasma) and other body fluids reflect only the most recent exposure and rapidly return to within normal ranges, even when there has been a temporary excursion in response to exposure. In this context, we have been developing a non-invasive measurement of Mn stored in bone, using in vivo neutron activation analysis. Following feasibility studies, a first pilot study, using neutron activation analysis to measure Mn in the bones of the hand of ten healthy male human subjects, was conducted with the approval of the concerned research ethics boards. The participants of this study had no known history of exposure to Mn. Two volunteers were excluded from this study due to technical problems with their measurements. The inverse variance weighted mean value of Mn/Ca for the participants of this study is 0.12+/-0.68 microg Mn/g Ca which is comparable within uncertainties with the estimated range of 0.16-0.78 microg Mn/g Ca and mean value of 0.63+/-0.30 microg Mn/g Ca derived from cadaver data. It is recommended to investigate the use of the diagnostic technique for in vivo measurements of workers exposed occupationally to excessive amounts of Mn who could develop many-fold increased levels of Mn in bones as demonstrated through various animal studies. The technique needs further development to improve the precision of in vivo measurements in the non-exposed population.
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